Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened Democrats with a “scorched-earth” policy if they kill the filibuster in order to pursue passage of several pieces of legislation that are popular among the American people.
As more Democrats endorse ending the filibuster that has allowed Republicans to obstruct work in the Senate for decades, McConnell threw a temper tantrum on the Senate floor threatening retaliation in a clear ploy to scare Democrats from doing what needs to be done, especially as support grows for the We The People Act— a major piece of voting rights legislation that would roll back Republican voter suppression efforts across the country.
“Some Democrats believe this would be a tidy trade-off if they could just break the rules on a razor-thin majority,” McConnell whined. “That’s not what would happen. So let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues. Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like.”
McConnell then dared accuse Democrats of trying to “break the Senate” even though it’s been broken for many years now because of the filibuster.
“Everything Senate Democrats did to Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama would be child’s play compared to the disaster the Democrats would create for their own priorities if they break the Senate,” ‘Moscow’ Mitch continued. “Even the most basic aspects of our colleagues’ agenda, the most mundane tasks of the Biden presidency would actually be harder — not easier — for Democrats in a post-nuclear Senate.”
Actually, it would be easier since bills could be passed with a simple majority vote, which was the will of the founding fathers. And let’s not forget that Republicans obstructed former President Barack Obama in a scheme to make him a failed president and have used their power to hurt the country rather than help it. They would have blocked the American Rescue Plan with the filibuster if Democrats had chosen not to pass it using reconciliation.
McConnell then warned that Republicans would pursue a ramped up version of their destructive agenda if Democrats killed the filibuster.
“As soon as Republicans wound up back in the saddle, we wouldn’t just erase every liberal change that hurt the country, we’d strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero input from the other side,” he threatened. “How about this? Nationwide right to work for working Americans. Defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities on day one. A whole new era of domestic energy production. Sweeping new protections for conscience and the right to life of the unborn. Concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Massive hardening of security on the southern border.”
None of those policies are popular with the American people, and it’s not like Republicans have not been passing those policies at the state level anyway. They’ve also been trying to use the courts and executive orders to enact them as well. Killing the filibuster gives Democrats the ability to create national policy that will render those state-level policies toothless.
Furthermore, even if Republicans somehow regained the Senate majority, they would need the White House to actually follow through with McConnell’s threat. Because while the filibuster is not enshrined within the Constitution, the Constitution does say that overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers, something Republicans likely would not be able to achieve.
The fact is that McConnell and the GOP know that Americans overwhelmingly support many of the policy measures Democrats are pursuing. If Democrats were to get them passed, they can absolutely say that they’ve done something for the American people. They can be the ones who get the Senate working again. Democratic voters will be energized, and the voting rights bill would undermine Republican voter suppression efforts, thus making it easier for Democratic voters to cast their ballot. Republicans understand that when everyone can exercise their right to vote, Democrats win. Republicans have even admitted in court that they can’t win elections without voter suppression laws.
So, Democrats can go ahead and call McConnell’s bluff. The filibuster is what gives him power and he’s terrified of losing it. It’s time for Democrats to exercise their own power and take it away from him. Americans will thank them for it in 2022.
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