Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested Monday that abolishing the Senate filibuster would force senators to “work together.”
“I have come to believe that the filibuster is an archaic remnant of a past time,” Clinton, who represented New York in the Senate from 2001 to 2009, told Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haas during a teleconferenced discussion on the issue.
“We have to show people that government can work,” she continued. “We may not always agree on, you know, what it is the right solution might be, but we have to demonstrate that elections actually produce consequences and people, like it or not, should see what the results are.”
Clinton called the filibuster, which Democrats often used successfully to thwart former President Donald Trump’s legislative initiatives, a “symbol of minority obstructionism as opposed to a cooling saucer parliamentary move to get people to work together.”
Arguing that “real debate” is “all gone” in the chamber, Clinton accused former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of focusing on tax cuts and judicial confirmations and leaving aside the rest of Senate business.
“And I think we need to bring back a real legislative process,” Clinton said. “If you thought you had to actually stand up and vote on something, you’d actually work to get an amendment to change it as opposed to saying, ‘I don’t even have to think about it, I’m just gonna show up and I’m gonna be part of a filibuster.’ That doesn’t inspire cooperation. It just keeps people in their separate camps.
“So I think it’s gonna take a little bit of change in order to get to where people have to work together. And surprisingly, in my own mind, I think getting rid of the filibuster will actually have that result,” Clinton added.
A move desired by most Democratic senators but still opposed by Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, eliminating the filibuster would mean the votes of only 50 senators and Vice President Kamala Harris would be needed to pass legislation. (RELATED: Trump Says Ending Filibuster Would Be ‘Catastrophic’ For Republicans)
McConnell resisted Trump’s attempts to do away with the procedure while he was president, and has pledged to bring Senate activities to a halt if Democrats force the issue.