McConnell: Votes aren't there to nix filibuster

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

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellCNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Impeachment throws curveball in Iowa to sidelined senators 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 his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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 ObamaFormer NYT correspondent rips Democrats' 'selective use' of constitutional violations Obama portraits leaving National Portrait Gallery to tour museums across the country Tulsi Gabbard explains decision to sue Hillary Clinton: 'They can do it to anybody' 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.