Several Republican senators sent a clear message to President Donald Trump on Friday: We won’t “go nuclear” and eliminate the legislative filibuster to get you money for your long-sought border wall.
Without the legislative filibuster, legislation could pass the Senate with a simple majority of support, rather than requiring Republican leadership to corral the 3/5ths of the chamber currently necessary to end debate and move on to a vote.
Trump tweeted Friday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should pursue this so-called “nuclear option.”
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
However, as CNBC’s Ylan Q. Mui reported, McConnell’s office has asserted that wall funding would be covered by the Budget Act and, as a result, would present additional obstacles to passage by a simple majority — even without the legislative filibuster.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) echoed the point on Twitter:
Plus there is a 60 vote requirement to waive a budget point of order under the Budget Act. A law, not a Senate rule or precedent. https://t.co/CKDC2iDieJ
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) December 21, 2018
In addition, Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Friday announced their opposition to the move. And McConnell’s office reiterated Friday that he doesn’t have the votes to eliminate the legislative filibuster.
“I’ve long said that eliminating the legislative filibuster would be a mistake. It’s what’s prevented our country for decades from sliding toward liberalism. It’s inconvenient sometimes, but requiring compromise is in the interest of both parties in the long term.”
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) December 21, 2018
The Senate filibuster is about the only mechanism left in Washington that brings the parties together. Deploying the nuclear option would blow that up. I will not vote to do it. https://t.co/XDL19fuSMP
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 21, 2018
We have rules to follow. I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules. I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not.
Read my full statement here: https://t.co/RcptSopNhk
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) December 21, 2018