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Top Senate Republican warns of 'scorched earth' response if Democrats dump filibuster

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) returns to his office after a vote at the Senate Chamber of the US Capitol March 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened Democratic President Joe Biden against moves to cancel the chamber's filibuster rule.

It would lead to a "completely scorched earth" Senate in which Biden would have a much harder time moving his agenda, McConnell warned progressives on Tuesday.

"Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like," the Republican leader said.

The Republican senator from Kentucky reiterated to Democrats on the Senate floor that if the progressives eliminate the filibuster and Republicans take back the majority, "we wouldn't just erase every liberal change that hurt the country — we'd strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero, zero input from the other side."

McConnell said eliminating the legislative filibuster would "break the Senate" and turn the chamber into a "100-car pileup" where chaos reigns.

He added that Biden would have a much harder time getting his name into history books if the filibuster rule, which requires three-fifth majority -- currently 60 out of 100 Senate votes -- for some issues of exceptional importance, is set aside.

He said a majority of Republicans would immediately defund Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, push abortion restrictions, ramp up security on the southern border with Mexico among other moves.

The Democrats have the Senate majority with 51 seat (or 50 plus the Vice President who acts as the president of the Senate). The Republicans have the remaining 50 seats in Senate.

The filibuster custom, which is known as tactic used to "talk a bill to death", is meant to protect the interests of the minority; however, it has increasingly led to deadlock and turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard for bills passed by the House.

McConnell, whose looks have been likened to a turtle, is notorious for using the filibuster as his most effective tactic for obstructing or delaying legislation and judicial appointments by wasting the chamber's time.

In 2019, he pressured Democrats to keep the filibuster, writing an editorial article in The New York Times, opposing its elimination.

In the article, he wrote that the filibuster played a crucial role in US Constitutional order, warning progressives who wanted to change Senate rules for temporary political gain will rue the day.

 


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