Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell again lambasted Democratic efforts to abolish the legislative filibuster Wednesday, accusing the party of going beyond the mandate given to them by the American people in November.
Speaking to Fox News’ “The Faulkner Focus,” McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated his staunch opposition to overturning the Senate rule requiring 60 members to end debate on most topics and move forward to a vote.
Democrats, he argued, were trying “to turn the Senate into a speedway as opposed to a place where things are paused, and thought over.”
“The Senate was created on purpose,” he continued, “not to function like the House — to slow things down, to kill bad ideas, to force bipartisanship.”
“[These were] all the things that the Democrats believed in as long as there was a Republican in the White House, or conveniently thrown aside as soon as they think there’s 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,” the top Senate Republican said.
The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, though Vice President Kamala Harris has a tie-breaking vote. Still, 51 votes are not enough under current rules to break through the filibuster.
In recent months, Democrats have faced growing pressure from inside the party to abolish the filibuster in order to push the party’s more ambitious legislative efforts through, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) coming out in favor of “reforms” on Monday.
President Biden followed suit on Tuesday, and Harris joined the powerful group in voicing her support on Wednesday.
Harris’ office told Fox News when reached for comment that she supports the president’s stance on the issue.
Asked by Harris Faulkner what his reaction to Democrats pushing filibuster reform through would be, McConnell first pointed out that doing so would essentially amount to “turning the Senate into the House.”
Still, Republicans would “make it difficult for the Senate to function,” he again pledged.
“For example, in a 50-50 Senate it will still be hard for them to achieve things it takes 51 to make a quorum. Without 51 votes you can’t do business. Almost every day, most of the things we do, Harris, are about consent. You will hear a senator say ‘I ask unanimous consent that we do this, that or the other.’ Any one senator can object to a consent request,” the Kentucky senator explained.
“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. And it’s a step in the wrong direction for the institution, for the country.”