Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to have inadvertently boosted Rep. John Yarmuth’s (D-KY) argument to reform or eliminate the filibuster in an op-ed the senator published in the the Courier Journal on Monday.
McConnell took aim at Yarmuth’s own op-ed published last week, which decried the Senate minority leader’s floor speech last week “frenetically predicting legislative Armageddon” in the chamber if Democrats were to go nuclear on the filibuster.
McConnell defended the filibuster by arguing that the procedure exists to “block bad ideas from becoming law and to encourage bipartisan solutions” — a point that Democratic senators like Yarmuth share, but with the concern that President Biden’s legislative agenda will hit more roadblocks if the reform or elimination of the filibuster doesn’t occur.
McConnell hit back at Yarmuth calling the filibuster a “minority veto” and defended the legislative roadblock as “Kentucky’s veto,” insinuating that senators from more populous states such as California or New York would have more weight in putting a stop to Republicans’ legislative priorities.
“As the only congressional leader not from New York or California, I put Kentucky’s priorities front and center,” McConnell wrote. “If Yarmuth had his way, Speaker Pelosi would have a free pass to leave Middle America out in the cold.”
But McConnell’s argument essentially proves Yarmuth’s point. As Vox pointed out in November, with Democrats securing both Senate seats in Georgia, the 50 Democratic senators represent 41.5 million more Americans than the 50 Republicans in the chamber. Kentucky’s population is about 4.5 million people, compared to about 39.5 million in California and 19.5 million in New York, respectively.
McConnell on Monday reiterated his stern stance last week against abolishing the filibuster, warning that “the broken Senate would hold endless votes” on Senate operations if Democrats eliminate the filibuster.
“Blowing up the Senate wouldn’t speed liberals’ ambitions, it would grind them to a halt,” McConnell wrote. “I guarantee it.”
The publication of McConnell’s op-ed comes amid former President Trump claiming that he warned the Senate minority leader that Democrats will try to eliminate the filibuster in order for them to have “a free for all,” during an interview on the podcast “The Truth with Lisa Boothe” released Monday morning. Trump knocked McConnell for the Senate minority leader’s supposed insufficient loyalty, even after McConnell has tried to get back into the former president’s good graces after scolding Trump on the Senate floor for inciting the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection earlier this year.
McConnell’s vocal opposition against reforming or eliminating the filibuster comes amid growing calls from congressional Democrats to do so in order to push Biden’s legislative agenda forward. The President himself also came out in support of a “talking filibuster” to make the procedure more painful to carry out for the Senate minority last week.