(PresidentialInsider.com)- Republican have long been warning about the dangers of getting rid of the Senate filibuster rule.
While Democrats have been tinkering with the idea — as they are upset they can’t come to a consensus and get 60 votes in favor of their progressive bills — Republicans have warned them that they won’t be in power forever. In other words, be careful what you wish for, because having no filibuster could benefit Republicans when they take control of the upper chamber again.
With that “again” moment seeming like it’s a very real possibility following next year’s midterm elections, senators are ramping up the noise when it comes to the filibuster.
Recently, Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney did just that, but he uttered his warning with a slightly different message. The filibuster shouldn’t be eliminated, he said, because it’s there’s a “reasonable chance” that former President Donald Trump could be elected into the White House again in 2024, with Republicans also holding control of both chambers of Congress.
As he wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post:
“Have Democrats thought through what it would mean for them for Trump to be entirely unrestrained, with the Democratic minority having no power whatsoever? If Democrats eliminate the filibuster now, they — and the country — may soon regret it very much.”
Trump got a good amount of his priorities through Congress when he was in the White House, but the Senate filibuster stopped what would have been his more “controversial” plans in their tracks.
The filibuster requires 60 members of the Senate to vote in favor of a bill for it to pass, rather than just a simple majority. Democrats passed President Joe Biden’s massive stimulus package earlier this year with on a simply majority by using a process known as budget reconciliation, but what can be passed using that method is limited.
Throughout his time in the White House, Trump pressed Mitch McConnell, who was then serving as the Senate’s majority leader, to get rid of the filibuster so he could pass through his agenda.
While Congress was debating his tax cut proposal in September of 2017, Trump tweeted:
“With the ridiculous Filibuster Rule in the Senate, Republicans need 60 votes to pass legislation, rather than 51. Can’t get votes, END NOW!”
McConnell never pressed forward to change the rule, to Trump’s disgust. Now, as Republicans are making it hard for Biden to get his agenda through, some Democrats are also calling for the end of the filibuster.
It’s ironic, Romney said in his op-ed, how the Democrats “conveniently ignore” the past defenses they gave of the filibuster. In 2017, for example, 30 Democrats signed a letter that implored leaders of the Senate to keep the existing rule in place.
Romney even quoted Senator Chuck Schumer, who is now the Senate majority leader, who called attempts to eliminated the filibuster a “temper tantrum.” He stressed a few years ago that “no senator would like to see that happen.”
Now, of course, as he and his party are not getting their way, Schumer has flip-flopped.
But, as Romney has warned, Democrats should be careful what they wish for.