McConnell rejects using nuclear option on wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi, Schumer press for gun screenings as Trump inches away The malware election: Returning to paper ballots only way to prevent hacking First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons MORE’s (R-Ky.) spokesman says the Senate does not have enough votes to change its rules and pass border wall funding with a simple majority. 

“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option. Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming their opposition, and confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road,” said David Popp, McConnell’s communications director. 

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Popp issued his statement after several Republican senators voiced opposition to holding a procedural vote known as the “nuclear option” to change the Senate’s rules and make it easier to pass a funding bill that includes $5.7 billion to build a border wall. 

Trump urged McConnell Friday morning to pull out all the stops to fund the wall. 

“Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!” he tweeted.

The House passed on Thursday a short-term government funding bill that provides $5.7 billion to construct a border wall but Democrats say they will defeat it in the Senate. 

While Republicans have a 51-49 majority in the upper chamber, Democrats can block the House bill with a filibuster or other procedural objections, which require 60 votes to overcome.

Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesThe 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal 5 takeaways from combative Democratic debate GOP senator introduces resolution to formally condemn socialism MORE (R-Mont.), who is up for reelection in 2020 in a state that Trump won by 20 points, has urged colleagues to invoke the nuclear option to lower the vote threshold vote stopping a filibuster. 

Trump praised Daines for the bold position.

“Thank you @SteveDainesfor being willing to go with the so-called nuclear option in order to win on DESPERATELY NEEDED Border Security! Have my total support,” Trump tweeted. 

Republican Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeArpaio considering running for former sheriff job after Trump pardon Overnight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress MORE (Ariz.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Tenn.) immediately announced Friday morning that they would not vote for the nuclear option. 

The retiring Senate president pro tempore, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators MORE (R-Utah), also said he opposed the idea. 

He said the Senate’s traditional 60-vote threshold for quashing a filibuster “has prevented our country for decades from sliding toward liberalism.”