McConnell: Votes aren't there to nix filibuster

McConnell: Votes aren't there to nix filibuster
© Greg Nash

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills GOP senators request interview with former DNC contractor to probe possible Ukraine ties MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said that the Senate will not be nixing the 60-vote legislative filibuster despite a renewed call by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE to do so.

McConnell, speaking at a Politico Playbook event, said the support wasn't there in the Senate for getting rid of the filibuster, which has sparked frustration among House conservatives and the White House.

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"With the regard to the filibuster rule, as I've told him repeatedly, the votes aren't there to change it. They just aren't there," McConnell said later, adding, "I simply disagree with the president about the harm that [the filibuster] does."

McConnell has joined the majority of senators in repeatedly defending the filibuster despite pressure from the White House and conservatives to get rid of the higher vote threshold, which can be used to block GOP priorities from passing the Senate because it requires Democratic support for most legislation. 

"I always say, 'Well we're just more important than you are.' Not really," McConnell quipped about how he responds to House members complaining about the Senate rules. 

But Trump is doubling down on his months-long push to end the filibuster. He tweeted last week that it was blocking Republicans from being able to pass an immigration bill. 

"Republicans must get rid of the stupid Filibuster Rule-it is killing you!” he tweeted.  

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that House members and Trump urged senators to eliminate the filibuster during a White House meeting. 

But McConnell defended the 60-vote threshold on Wednesday, arguing it had helped protect the country from liberal policies when Democrats were in power.

"I think both sides having been up and down a number of times understand the advantages when you're not in the majority," he said. 

"What I remind the president of, occasionally, when we have this discussion is but for that we would have socialized medicine ... there's a whole parade of horribles that would have occurred in the first two years of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTeaching black children to read is an act of social justice Buttigieg draws fresh scrutiny, attacks in sprint to Iowa The shifting impeachment positions of Jonathan Turley MORE but for the supermajority threshold," the majority leader continued. 

McConnell added that he believed the filibuster helped spark bipartisan deals in the Senate and was not a "problem." 

"It does, I think, generate on many occasions kind of a bipartisan solution," McConnell said.