President Trump tweeted this morning that he supports changing rules in the U.S Senate to effectively end the filibuster and change the threshold to a simple majority of 51 votes. His argument for this, of course, is that he could get his agenda passed despite opposition from Democrats. The biggest opposition, however, may come from Republicans who would fear the repercussions of such a rule change being used against them if and when they lose power in the Upper Chamber.
Reuters reports on the latest push from the President to nullify Democratic opposition:
President Donald Trump, in a tweet on Tuesday, reiterated his call for the U.S. Senate to loosen its rules to make it easier to pass legislation by simple majority, and urged lawmakers to pass healthcare and tax overhauls.
“The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems (Democrats) would do it, no doubt!” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter. Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the idea.
Here’s the tweet in question:
The thing is though, the Democrats held the presidency for eight years and didn’t do it. In fact, neither party has eliminated the filibuster or changed these files because they both know that they’d regret such a move when they inevitably become the minority party at some point. Without the super majority rule and the filibuster, the minority party would function the way it does in the House, which is to be basically useless in shaping the agenda or slowing down bad legislation. If these rules were to change, the party in power could pass their agenda at will, but the short term gains would simply be undone by the other party once the pendulum swings.
This latest tweet is not unlike the changes he proposed back in the beginning of May:
Back at that time, Republicans were furious:
“I’ve never seen anybody go to the Senate and then advocate removing the filibuster — they don’t do it,” House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Chairman Rep. Tom Cole said emerging from a Republican Conference meeting. He said he thought that was highly unlikely to happen.
“I prefer the first one but, you know, it’s really up to the Senate what the Senate rules are,” Cole said of Trump’s proposition to either elect more Republicans or change the Senate rules. Cole said he’s never seen Republicans get elected to the Senate and then call for such a change.
This rule change most likely is not going to happen. In fact, the likelihood is probably around zero percent since Trump himself has nothing to do with changing it. The change would be up to Senate Republicans and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he would not push such a change.