Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a sharp warning from the Senate floor on Tuesday, warning of a “scorched-earth Senate” in response to Democrats pressing to end the filibuster.
“Does anyone really believe the American people were voting for an entirely new system of government by electing Joe Biden to the White House and a 50-50 Senate?” McConnell asked his colleagues, emphasizing the Senate is split and Democrats only have the edge due to the party occupying the White House.
“There was no mandate to completely transform America by the American people on November 3,” he said, casting down the narrative touted by “a few liberal activists.”
“There’s an ironic element to this whole conversation. Some Democratic senators seem to imagine this would be a tidy trade-off if they could just break the rules on a razor-thin majority,” he continued. “Sure it might damage the institution, but then nothing would stand between them and their entire agenda a new era of fast-track policymaking.”
However, McConnell said that is absolutely not what would occur.
“So let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell warned:
None of us have served one minute in a Senate that was completely drained of comedy and consent. This is an institution that requires united consent to turn the lights on before noon, to proceed with a garden variety floor speech, to dispense with the reading of lengthy legislative text, to schedule committee business to move even noncontroversial nominees at anything besides a snail pace.
“I want our colleagues to imagine a world where every single task, every one of them, requires a physical quorum, which by the way the vice president does not count in determining a quora,” he continued, furthering his warning.
“Everything that Democrat Senates did to Presidents Bush and Trump, everything the Republican Senate did to President Obama would be child’s play compared to the disaster that Democrats would create for their own priorities if, if they break the Senate,” he added:
Breaking Senate rules to kill the filibuster would not open up an express lane to liberal change. It would not open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books. The Senate would function more like a hundred-car pile-up. Nothing moving.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) March 16, 2021
McConnell’s speech comes as Democrats continue to rally around ending the legislative filibuster, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) forcefully speaking against it in a Monday floor speech.
“The filibuster is still making a mockery of American democracy. The filibuster is still being misused by some senators to block legislation urgently needed and supported by a strong majority of the American people,” Durbin said, contending the filibuster is “being misused by some senators to block legislation urgently needed and supported by strong majorities of the American people.”
“This is what hitting legislative rock bottom looks like,” he added. “Today’s filibusters have turned the world’s most deliberative body into one of the world’s most ineffectual bodies.”
Progressive House members are also speaking out on the issue. On Tuesday, far-left Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) listed the filibuster among items she believes are upholding and protecting “white supremacy.”