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McConnell: If Filibuster Goes, Expect 'Scorched-Earth Senate'

He says move would backfire badly on Democrats
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2021 1:53 PM CDT

(Newser) – Abolishing the filibuster is not a road Democrats should even consider going down, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Tuesday. The Republican said that if Democrats do away with the legislative filibuster, as some progressives are pushing for, the Senate would become a "100-car pileup." He vowed that Republicans would bring the chamber to a standstill by withdrawing consent on routine issues. "Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin ... to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like," McConnell said, per the New York Times. "None of us have served one minute in a Senate that was completely drained of comity, and this is an institution that requires unanimous consent to turn the lights on before noon."

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McConnell's warning came the day after Sen. Dick Durbin said the filibuster, which requires most legislation get at least 60 votes to pass, was "making a mockery of American democracy" and should be abolished, Axios reports. McConnell said that if Democrats get rid of the filibuster and Republicans regain the majority, they would erase liberal policies and bring in "all kinds of conservative policies with zero, zero input from the other side." Abolishing the legislative filibuster would require 50 Democratic votes, and Sens. Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin have said they would oppose the move, the Hill reports. When asked earlier this month if he would reconsider, Manchin told a reporter, "Never! Jesus Christ, what don't you understand about 'never'?" (McConnell invoked the "nuclear option" in 2017.)

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