Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell promised in a Tuesday floor speech to bring Senate business to a halt if Democrats eliminate the filibuster.
“Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell said. He then promised to pass a flood of conservative legislation if Democrats eliminate the filibuster and Republicans take back control of the chamber.
McConnell reminded Democrats that when Republicans held the presidency, House and Senate, he resisted calls from then-President Donald Trump to eliminate the filibuster.
“A sitting president leaned on me to do it. He tweeted about it,” McConnell said. “I said no repeatedly. Because becoming a U.S. senator comes with higher duties than steamrolling any obstacle to short-term power.”
“33 members of the Senate side signed a letter [in 2017] insisting that, quote, we preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions regarding legislation,” McConnell pointed out. Now, instead of working with Republicans to pass legislation on a bipartisan basis, Democrats are pressuring Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to end their support for the filibuster, he added.
Senate Republicans used cloture votes to break Democratic filibusters 466 times during the Trump presidency. The Democrats successfully filibustered Republican objectives 39 times.
If those calls to end the filibuster succeed, McConnell promised quorum calls “to turn the lights on before noon.”
“The Senate would be more like a 100-car pileup, nothing moving,” he continued.
Reminding Democrats of then-Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s decision to eliminate the filibuster for lower court judicial nominees, “I remember offering a warning,” McConnell said. “My colleagues would regret it a lot sooner than they thought. In just a few years and a few Supreme Court vacancies later, many of our democratic colleagues said publicly that they did.” (RELATED: As Kavanaugh Hearings Loom, One Senate Democrat Regrets Abolishing Filibuster)
McConnell later promised a raft of conservative legislation if Democrats eliminated the filibuster and Republicans took back the Senate, including right-to-work laws, defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, and nationwide concealed carry permits.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Majority Whip, called the filibuster “the death grip of democracy” in a floor speech on Monday. Durbin in 2018 claimed that eliminating the filibuster “would be the end of the Senate,” Fox News reported.