Calling Senate procedures “archaic,” President Trump has suggested that the legislative filibuster stopping him from fulfilling several campaign goals should be ended.
“And maybe at some point we’re going to have to take those rules on, because, for the good of the nation, things are going to have to be different,” said Trump on Friday. “You can’t go through a process like this. It’s not fair. It forces you to make bad decisions. I mean, you’re really forced into doing things that you would normally not do except for these archaic rules.”
Senate rules which permit the minority party — now Democrats – to “filibuster” or block a bill should be done away with, said Trump, tweeting: “Either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%.”
either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2017
He has also told reporters that “the filibuster concept is not a good concept to start off with.”
Senators in both parties were against Trump’s latest idea, because lowering the vote threshold for controversial legislation to 51 senators would take away power from the minority party. According to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, such a move would send the U.S. “straight to socialism.”
However, in 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the so-called “nuclear option” to eliminate filibusters on most federal judicial nominees, which subsequently allowed McConnell to do the same in 2017, and let GOP members decide to install Judge Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx., however, said that he can see where Trump’s idea might be needed. “If Democratic senators continue to abuse the filibuster, I think the political pressure to rein in their abuse will only continue to grow,”he told reporters on Tuesday.
Filibusters rules have actually been changed many times in the past, making the question of whether the minority should have the ability to block and delay votes a long-standing topic of debate going back as far as colonial times.
“I’ve said all along, come June, once … regular legislation starts being passed by the House, there’s going to be a lot of frustration that the Senate can’t pass it, just regular pieces of legislation. Just anything requiring 60 votes,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. warning, “If you believe in limited government and extended debate, the 60-vote requirement is your friend more than it’s your foe. We won’t always be in this position – you’ve got to take the long view.”
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