Senate

Susan Collins challenger open to nixing Senate filibuster

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Senate Democratic nominee Sara Gideon — who is running to unseat GOP Sen. Susan Collins in Maine — is signaling support for nixing the legislative filibuster if she wins in November. 

Gideon said she would vote to eliminate the 60-vote procedural hurdle if it stood in the way of Democratic priorities, including health care legislation, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“I think what Americans need and what Mainers need more than anything is government that functions and I think that the filibuster prevents us from functioning and making progress on issues,” said Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. 

Gideon is one of several Democratic Senate candidates who have said they are open to getting rid of the filibuster by lowering it to a simple majority if Democrats win control of the Senate in November. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats will need a net win of three seats and the White House in November or a total pickup of four seats for an outright majority starting in January. 

Collins voted to nix the 60-vote hurdle for Supreme Court nominees in 2017 after Justice Neil Gorsuch was unable to get enough Democratic support to overcome it. But she’s defended keeping the same hurdle for legislation, including organizing a 2017 letter urging leadership to keep it intact. 

Democrats are currently debating what to do about the legislative filibuster if they win back the Senate. Progressives and a growing number of Democratic senators support getting rid of it. 

But several Democratic senators have warned that they are opposed to doing so, casting doubt on if there would be the votes needed to use the “nuclear option,” which allows them to change the Senate rules with only a simple majority. 

Gideon, whose campaign also indicated to HuffPost in late June that she would support nixing the filibuster so the Senate could be more productive, is one of several Democratic Senate candidates who have signaled they are open to changing the filibuster. 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), who is running to unseat GOP Sen. Steve Daines, has voiced support for ending the filibuster; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has said he’s open to listening to reform ideas; North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham has called for filibuster reform; and Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield’s campaign has signaled she would consider potential filibuster reforms. 

Tags John Hickenlooper legislative filibuster Maine Senate race Neil Gorsuch Nuclear option Senate filibuster Steve Bullock Steve Daines Susan Collins
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