[Video above is Ted Cruz standing with House Republicans, telling Senate Democrats to stop blocking DHS bill. It doesn’t directly address the filibuster argument.]
House conservatives are calling on Mitch McConnell to gut the filibuster rule in the Senate to allow Republicans to pass the DHS funding bill. But Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz disagree, putting the onus back on Senate Democrats for blocking the bill from going forward:
THE HILL – A growing number of House GOP conservatives are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday to invoke the “nuclear option” and change the chamber’s rules to pass a bill defunding President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Reps. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said McConnell should change Senate rules, so the House-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill, which includes language to revoke Obama’s immigration-related actions, can bypass a Democratic filibuster in the upper chamber.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) also endorsed the idea at a Thursday news conference. He said there’s a “way to change the rules to allow us to move forward” and “take away the ability to filibuster.”
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) was the first House Republican to advocate such a rules change Wednesday evening, arguing that now-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had established a precedent during his time in the majority.
Republican senators, however, immediately sought to quash the idea.
“The answer is not to change Senate rules,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said during the same news conference at which Mulvaney spoke. “The answer is for Senate Democrat not to be obstructionists.”
“I don’t think that’s an option we’re looking at right now,” freshman Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) added, arguing that things should move forward according to current Senate rules.
Labrador and Huelskamp said at an event held in conjunction with the Heritage Foundation that the executive actions merited something as dramatic as a change to the Senate’s long-standing rules. They argue that spending bills should only need 51 votes, instead of 60, to advance.
“Mitch McConnell can change the rules of the Senate. And this is important enough for Mitch McConnell to change the rules of the Senate,” Labrador said.
“I don’t think Mitch McConnell should let the Senate rules trump the Constitution,” the Kansan said.
Labrador suggested Senate Republicans should just “pack up” and go home if they “don’t want to fight” on the DHS funding issue.
“If they don’t want to fight, if they don’t want to work, if they don’t want to do the hard work that is necessary to do the will of the American people, then maybe they just need to pack up, and they need to decide that for the next two years, we’re just not going to do anything in the Senate,” Labrador said.
Otherwise, Labrador argued, Senate Republicans might as well hand the majority back over to the Democrats.
“If we’re going to allow seven Democratic senators to decide what the agenda is of the House Republican conference, of the Senate Republican majority, then we might as well just give them the chairmanships, give them the leadership of the Senate,” he asserted.
If we had a Republican president then I’d be all about gutting the filibuster to finally get things done in the Senate. And I can see some point in doing it now, to force Obama to decide whether he would actually veto his own funding bill because it doesn’t allow for his illegal Amnesty spending. But in the end if he vetoes it, then gutting the Senate filibuster didn’t do very much practically speaking. All it accomplishes is having the bill returned to Senate Republicans and puts the onus back on them.
As it stands now the onus is on Senate Democrats. And Senate Republicans can keep putting pressure on the Senate Democrats who disavowed Obama’s illegal Amnesty last year during the elections.