On Monday evening, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that his fight to keep the Senate filibuster in place was over and that he was the victor.
This is definitely some good news, though one has to wonder what, exactly, was negotiated in order to turn the effort by the Democratic Party to be brought to an end.
McConnell released a statement reading:
Today, two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster. They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation. The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001. With these assurance, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Arizona Democratic Sen. Krysten Sinema revealed that, like fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, she would not vote to end the Senate filibuster.
“Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) has been the most outspoken Democratic opponent of changing Senate rules and has sought to assemble a bipartisan cadre of centrist senators willing to hammer out deals across the aisle. But other Democrats are similarly resistant. A spokeswoman for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) said the senator is “against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster,” she said.
A filibuster requires a minimum of 60 votes to advance a piece of legislation. This means that proposals put forward by the Democratic Party would require the support of 10 Republicans in order for them to be passed.
In case you aren’t sure how a filibuster works, it happens when a minority party can keep debate open on a particular legislative issue until the Senate votes to close the issue. But closing the issue takes 60 votes.
There are a few limitations with the filibuster too. For one, it can’t be used for certain kinds of budget bills, federal executive branch appointees, or judicial appoints.
This is definitely an important win, however, so we can at least be glad for that.