McConnell promises 'scorched earth' if Dems drop filibuster

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Official Senate portrait)

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is warning of a “scorched- earth” Senate if the Democrats deploy the “nuclear option” and get rid of the filibuster.

That’s the rule that gives the minority some power by requiring 60 votes to end debate and move to a final vote.

Ending the filibuster would enable the Democrats in the 50-50 Senate to pass legislation on a simple-majority through the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. But McConnell warned they won’t like the result.

“Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” he said, the Washington Examiner reported.

Republicans could created gridlock, he explained, because the Senate runs by unanimous consent, which means all 100 senators must agree to the most basic terms of operating.

Without a filibuster, McConnell said, he would insist on a vote of the full Senate on every move.

And Harris would not be permitted to break tied votes.

“I want my colleagues to imagine a world where every single task requires a physical quorum,” the minority leader said. “Even the most basic aspects of our colleagues’ agenda, the most mundane tasks of the Biden presidency, would be harder, not easier, for Democrats in a post-‘nuclear’ Senate that’s 50-50.”

The filibuster formerly applied to judicial nominations, but the Democrats killed it for lower court judges. The GOP followed their lead by taking away the requirement for Supreme Court justices, leaving the Democrats in the dust when President Trump appointed three justices to the high court.

Democrats avoided a filibuster fight over Joe Biden’s massive $1.9 trillion COVID bill by using reconciliation, a procedure allowed for budget matters only that requires a simple-majority vote.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from Republican-majority West Virginia promised before the election he would not support ending the filibuster.

If the filibuster were eliminated and Republicans retake Congess, they could push measures such as the defunding of Planned Parenthood, elimination of sanctuary cities, a nationwide right-to-work law and reciprocity among the states for concealed carry permits.

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