McConnell: Schumer ‘yielding to the pressure of the hard left’ on filibuster
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasted Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday amid an escalating fight over the legislative filibuster, saying the New York Democrat is bowing to pressure from progressives.
“He is yielding to the pressure of the hard left to turn the Senate into a speedway, as opposed to a place where things are paused and thought over,” McConnell said during an interview with Fox News’s Harris Faulkner.
The GOP leader’s comments were in response to a 2017 clip of Schumer defending the need for 60 votes to advance most legislation, without which the chamber would become “like a majoritarian institution like the House, much more subject to the winds of short-term electoral change.” Republicans at the time were in the majority.
“Schumer had it right” in 2017, McConnell said Wednesday.
He added that the ideals laid out by Schumer four years ago are “conveniently thrown aside” by Democrats “as soon as they think there is a chance that they can advance their steamroller agenda, which the American people, by the way, certainly did not give them a mandate to pursue in last November’s election.”
McConnell then went on to say that “fundamentally turning the Senate into the House” would “make it difficult for the Senate to function.”
“My point being that the fact that they get rid of the filibuster doesn’t mean the Senate will work better. It means the Senate will work worse,” McConnell said. “And it is a step in the wrong direction for the institution and for the country.”
Changing the filibuster would require support from all 50 senators who caucus with the Democrats.
Schumer has not said whether he supports reforming or eliminating the legislative filibuster, and moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have expressed opposition to removing the filibuster entirely.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, on Monday issued a sharp rebuke of the legislative filibuster, comparing it to a “weapon of mass destruction” that was holding the Senate “hostage.”
President Biden, who had largely stayed on the sidelines amid the filibuster debate, said Tuesday that he would support a return to the “talking filibuster,” which requires a senator’s physical presence in the chamber and lengthy floor remarks to block legislation.
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