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McConnell: Votes aren't there to nix filibuster

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

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats slide in battle for Senate McConnell and wife confronted by customers at restaurant Pelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care 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 TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council 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 ObamaSanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa Republicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Five takeaways from the first North Dakota Senate debate 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.