McConnell: Sinema told me she won't nix the filibuster

McConnell: Sinema told me she won't nix the filibuster
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Senate panel advances first three spending bills McConnell lays out GOP demands for government-funding deal MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) told him directly that she would not support nixing the 60-vote legislative filibuster.

McConnell's disclosure, made during a floor speech, comes after he signaled on Monday night that he would agree to a power-sharing deal with Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerYouth organizations call on Biden to ensure 'bold' climate investments New York Times calls on Cuomo to resign 'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium MORE (D-N.Y.) to move forward in the Senate, where each party's caucus holds 50 seats.

"She opposes ending the legislative filibuster," McConnell said on Tuesday, referring to Sinema.

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"Our colleague informed me directly last night that under no circumstances would she reverse course," he added.

When reached for comment, Sinema’s office confirmed that the GOP leader called the Arizona Democrat on Monday night and “she confirmed to him what she has long said publicly — that she opposes eliminating the legislative filibuster."

Both Sinema and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenate rejects GOP effort to add Trump border wall to bipartisan infrastructure deal Youth organizations call on Biden to ensure 'bold' climate investments Democrats barrel toward August voting rights deadline MORE (D-W.Va.) reiterated publicly on Monday that they would not support eliminating the 60-vote legislative filibuster. Democrats would need the support of their entire 50-member caucus to get rid of the longstanding rule, meaning opposition from either senator would leave Democrats unable to proceed.

A fight over the filibuster has kept the Senate's organizing resolution in limbo for days after McConnell demanded an agreement to protect the filibuster be included in the power-sharing deal with Schumer — a demand rejected by Democrats.

McConnell announced on Monday night that the power-sharing deal could now proceed after the comments from Manchin and Sinema. Schumer didn't directly address comments from the two Democratic senators during his floor speech on Tuesday.

"I'm glad we're finally able to get the Senate up and running. My only regret is that it took so long, because we have a great deal to accomplish," Schumer said.

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Democrats are under intense pressure to nix the legislative filibuster, which progressives and a growing number of Democratic senators warn stands in the way of legislation on health care, democracy reform and voting rights, among other top priorities.

McConnell, on Tuesday, argued that getting rid of it would spark "immediate chaos," particularly in a 50-50 Senate.

"It would hamstring the Biden presidency over a power grab which the president has spent decades warning against and still opposes," he said.

Updated at 12:42 p.m.