Senate Republicans are threatening they will attempt a takeover of the Senate agenda by forcing votes on issues ranging from the Keystone XL pipeline to abortion rules to a U.S-Mexico border wall if Democrats weaken the filibuster.
Republicans are also looking at smaller bills such as a proposal to prohibit the administration from imposing a fracking ban by executive order, a prohibition on the IRS implementing new reporting on banks to disclose individuals’ banking activity and mandatory detention for illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes.
Senate Republican leaders on Monday said they have a list of bills they will try to bring to the floor under Rule 14 and debate if Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) rounds up enough Democrats to lower the threshold for beginning debate on a bill from 60 votes to 50.
“Since Sen. Schumer is hellbent on trying to break the Senate, Republicans will show how this reckless action would have immediate consequences,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSchumer requests Senate briefing on Ukraine amid Russia tensions Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Senate Minority Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThere is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Juan Williams: It's Trump vs. McConnell for the GOP's future Biden's year two won't be about bipartisanship MORE (R-S.D.) said Republicans have a list of bills that Schumer would not be keen on considering that could pass the chamber with the support of the entire GOP conference and one or two moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinEven working piecemeal, Democrats need a full agenda for children Poll: 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE (W.Va.) or Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaPoll: 30 percent of Americans say they approve of the job Congress is doing Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Democrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teams MORE (D-Ariz.).
“We have a lot of bills, actually, that have bipartisan support that Democrats have expressed support for previously,” Thune said Monday afternoon.
The No. 2 Senate Republican said if Democrats effectively lower the threshold on the procedural motion to begin debate on a bill to 50 votes, it would allow Republicans to bring legislation such as a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to the floor for a vote.
Two Democrats, Manchin and Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterSmall ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed Schumer opted for modest rules reform after pushback from moderates The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters MORE (Mont.), in February voted for an amendment to the budget reconciliation to resurrect the Keystone XL project. The amendment was adopted by a vote of 52-48 before later being stripped out of the resolution.
While the bills would still need 60 votes to advance to final passage, lowering the threshold to begin debate could open up vulnerable Democrats such as Sens. Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Perdue proposes election police force in Georgia MORE (Ga.), Mark KellyMark KellyDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Filibuster becomes new litmus test for Democrats MORE (Ariz.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanDemocrats torn over pushing stolen-election narrative These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race MORE (N.H.) to a slew of tough votes.
Thune said if the 60-vote threshold to allow a vote on motion to proceed “goes away,” a variety of bipartisan bills “would be available to get called up with a simple majority,” and there “could be some really hard votes for Democrats.”
“What they’re talking about doing — we’ve said this before — is not without consequence, and they know it. They need to think long and hard ... about whether or not they want to go down a path that allows Republicans to move items on our agenda at 51,” he said.
The bills that McConnell and Thune have in mind would have overwhelming Republican support and just enough backing from centrist Democrats to begin a floor debate.
Even if Republicans call legislation to the floor without any Democratic support, they say they could insist on vulnerable incumbents such as Warnock, Kelly and Hassan taking tough votes.
McConnell’s office on Monday suggested more than a dozen bills that could come to the floor if Republicans weaken the threshold for voting to proceed to legislation.
Other candidates for action include a proposal sponsored by Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Lobbying world Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster MORE (R-W.Va.) to codify the Trump administration’s revised Waters of the United States rule, which the Biden administration said in November it would scrap.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers announced in November the restoration of an Obama-era rule expanding the number of waterways protected under the Clean Water Act.
Another proposal sponsored by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPut partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Lawmakers press Biden admin to send more military aid to Ukraine MORE (R-Fla.) would bar money appropriated under the 2020 CARES Act or the 2021 American Rescue Plan from going to public elementary and secondary schools that aren’t open for in-person learning.
A third proposal sponsored by Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill MORE (R-N.C.), John CornynJohn CornynSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses Senate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products MORE (R-Texas) and Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Senate's antitrust bill would raise consumer prices and lower our competitiveness Sinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform MORE (R-Ark.) would prohibit the Department of Justice from paying settlements to illegal immigrants detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
President BidenJoe BidenFox News reporter says Biden called him after 'son of a b----' remark Peloton responds after another TV character has a heart attack on one of its bikes Defense & National Security — Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on high alert MORE in November dismissed reports that his administration would compensate families separated at the border with up to $450,000 in damages as “garbage.”
Senate Democrats say the bills that McConnell and his team are talking about wouldn’t represent tough votes for their caucus and on Monday evening attempted to call what they characterized as McConnell’s “bluff.”
Schumer took to the floor Monday evening and offered to hold simple-majority votes to proceed to nearly 20 Republican bills placed on the Senate calendar if Republicans would allow two voting rights bills to pass with simple-majority votes.
McConnell rejected the proposal, however.
This story was updated at 8:57 a.m.