Republican Leaders Argue Against Proposed Filibuster Reform

Senators should be “wary of changing rules to weaken the filibuster, the chamber’s Republican leader is warning,” The Hill reports.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dug in against proposed changes to the filibuster — one of the principal tools he’s used in the past two years against Democrats’ majority — in an op-ed to be published in Wednesday’s Washington Post.

"For two years, Democrats in Congress have hoped their large majorities would make it easy for them to pass extremely partisan legislation," McConnell wrote. "Now that they’ve lost an election, they’ve decided to change the rules rather than change their behavior. They should resist the impulse."

The GOP leader did not rule out compromise on rules changes in the Senate outright. He suggested, for instance, that changes to allow Republican senators in the minority to offer amendments could be a good first step.

"Why would Republicans vote for action on a bill that, we’ve been promised, we’ll be blocked from contributing to in any way?" he asked. "If the majority wants more cooperation, it could start by allowing differing views to be heard."

Meanwhile, the “Senate’s third-ranking Republican argued Tuesday that filibuster reform would mute minority viewpoints in the chamber,” according to a separate report by The Hill.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the Republican Conference chairman, called on Democrats hoping to reform the filibuster in the Senate to have "cooler heads." Senate Democrats have indicated they plan on proposing legislation to weaken the filibuster when Congress reconvenes this week.

In a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Alexander said the move would hinder legislators from amending legislation.

"Let’s be clear what we mean when we say the word ‘filibuster,’ " Alexander said. "So the real ‘party of no’ is the majority party that has been saying ‘no’ to debate, and ‘no’ to voting on amendments that minority members believe improve legislation and express the voices of the people they represent."

Instead, Alexander suggested improving the Senate by requiring all senators to vote, end the "three-day work week" and end the practice of secret holds.

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Filed under Party Leadership, Rules & Traditions

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