McConnell rejects using nuclear option on wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund 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 DainesTrump throws support behind 'no brainer' measure to ban burning of American flag Trump throws support behind 'no brainer' measure to ban burning of American flag House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices 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 FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (Ariz.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTaylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Taylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Senate health panel to move forward on package to lower health costs next week 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 Medal of Freedom to economist Arthur Laffer Trump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 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.”