Republicans Voice Opposition To Nuclear Option Over Border Wall Funding

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Molly Prince Politics Reporter
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A handful of Republican senators are coming out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s demand to end the Senate’s filibuster in order to pass funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

After the House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday that included $5.7 billion for the wall, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to kill the legislation on arrival in the Senate. With a 51 seat majority, Republicans are short of the necessary 60 votes to pass the stopgap.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana proposed the idea of going nuclear on Friday morning in light of the Senate’s vote later in the day. Trump thanked Daines for “being willing to go with the so-called nuclear option” and urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “get it done.”


David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, released a statement implying that there will not be a vote to end the filibuster:

The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option. Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming their opposition, and confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road.

While GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas didn’t opine on the move, he noted that “there is a 60 vote requirement to waive a budget point of order under the Budget Act. A law, not a Senate rule or precedent.” (RELATED: Chuck Schumer Makes It ‘Crystal Clear’ He Wants No Additional Funding For The Border Wall)

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

A handful of Republican senators are coming out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s demand to end the Senate’s filibuster. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Outgoing Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee all voiced opposition to doing away with the filibuster in order to fund the border wall.

“We have rules to follow. I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules,” Alexander said in a statement. “I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not.”

Corker tweeted that while the move may be necessary in the future, he will “continue to follow rules relative to legislation as they exist today” as he ends his term. Conversely, Flake emphasized the importance of the filibuster, calling it “the only mechanism left in Washington that brings the parties together.”

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