By Solange Reyner
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., says she won’t budge and eliminate the filibuster, telling the Wall Street Journal the solution wasn’t to erode the rules, but “for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together.”
“When you have a place that’s broken and not working, and many would say that’s the Senate today, I don’t think the solution is to erode the rules,” she said in an interview after two constituent events in Phoenix. “I think the solution is for senators to change their behavior and begin to work together, which is what the country wants us to do.”
The filibuster, which takes 60 votes to overcome, remains an obstacle for many of the policies Democrats want to enact, like sweeping campaign finance, a voting rights bill and new gun laws.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has resisted calls to eliminate the filibuster, arguing that a supermajority would destroy the fabric of the upper chamber.
“America’s declining trust in the government and each other makes it harder to solve key problems,” Manchin said in a statement last week. “That trust will continue to diminish unless we, as members of Congress, transcend partisanship to strengthen our democracy by protecting voting rights, implementing commonsense election security reforms, and making our campaign finance system more transparent.
“Pushing through legislation of this magnitude on a partisan basis may garner short-term benefits but will inevitably only exacerbate the distrust that millions of Americans harbor against the U.S. government,” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said if Democrats do away with the filibuster, they will “turn the Senate into a sort of nuclear winter.”
“I think if they destroy the essence of the Senate, the legislative filibuster, they will find a Senate that will not function,” said the Republican lawmaker.
“It takes unanimous consent to turn the lights on here,” McConnell said. “And I think they would leave an angry 50 senators not interested in being cooperative on even the simplest things.”
Democrats did away with the filibuster rules to overcome Republican stonewalling of President Barack Obama’s executive branch nominations and some judicial nominees.
Republicans and McConnell then escalated the process by eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court justices, smoothing confirmation of President Donald Trump’s three high court nominees.