McConnell: The Filibuster Exists to Block Bad Ideas from Becoming Law

In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks before the
Senate Television via AP

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) authored an op-ed Monday in USA Today titled “The Senate’s filibuster is Kentucky’s veto. It stops radical agendas,” to talk about ending the filibuster, which would “tear every last scrap of comity from Washington.”

McConnell called out Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) for pretending to know him and the state of Kentucky. McConnell said Yarmuth pretends to be a “McConnell-whisperer,” mentioning Yarmuth does not actually know McConnell or even the real Kentucky.

McConnell argues in his op-ed:

There’s the $1.9 trillion partisan spending spree he calls COVID-19 relief. Less than 9% of the funds support the health care fight and 1% goes to vaccines. Yarmuth even admitted it was stuffed with waste. He must have forgotten the five historic and bipartisan rescue packages we passed last year that fueled over a million vaccinations in Kentucky so far. They lifted millions of workers and small businesses.

McConnell wrote that the Senate is the “firewall” against the “passions and short-term” changes elections have. This is why it is important to have the 60 votes requirement for some votes required by the filibuster.

The filibuster’s existence is to “block bad ideas from becoming law and to encourage bipartisan solutions. This design also stabilizes national policy from swinging with every shift of the political winds.”

McConnell continued:

The 60-vote threshold is the only reason must-pass bills — like appropriations deals, defense authorizations, or farm bills — have any bipartisan buy-in when there isn’t divided government. It’s why, even with Democrats in the majority, I and therefore Kentucky get a big seat at the table. As the only congressional leader not from New York or California, I put Kentucky’s priorities front and center. If Yarmuth had his way, Speaker Pelosi would have a free pass to leave Middle America out in the cold.

You don’t have to believe me. When Republicans held majorities in Congress and the White House, the Senate Democratic leader defended the legislative filibuster. His number two said eliminating the filibuster for legislation would “be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised.” All this was just a few years ago.

Senate Democrats happily used the filibuster to shape or outright kill all kinds of legislation, as they did with Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill. Republicans didn’t like it, but we stood on principle to defend their right to do so. I even withstood substantial pressure from a president of my own party to break the Senate’s rules for short-term gain.

The Kentucky Republican said the Democrats fail to put the principles first, which is why they wanted it changed as soon as they took control of the Senate. If you throw out the filibuster, you would be “vandalizing the Senate,” which “would tear every last scrap of comity from Washington.”

McConnell finished by writing the firewall in the Senate must be saved, using Kentucky as an example. Kentucky uses the filibuster since it’s the only object that “stands between us and a march toward socialism.”


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