McConnell rejects using nuclear option on wall

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Washington, Wall Street on edge about coronavirus Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Lawmakers race to pass emergency coronavirus funding 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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 DainesAs many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran Senate set for closing arguments on impeachment Schiff sparks blowback with head on a 'pike' line 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 FlakeAppeals court refuses to throw out Joe Arpaio's guilty verdict after Trump pardon 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents McSally ties Democratic rival Kelly to Sanders in new ad MORE (Ariz.) and Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderLawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response Bill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children 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 administration backs Oracle in Supreme Court battle against Google Timeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock 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.”