Mitch McConnell: If we take back the Senate next year, we’ll consider bringing back the filibuster for appointments

posted at 4:41 pm on March 3, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via Charles Cooke, why would a potential Republican majority leader consider bringing back a procedural move that would primarily benefit Democrats in the minority?

Maybe there’s a method to this madness.

As he looks ahead to the possibility of leading the Senate, Mr. McConnell is promising a more open floor, with senators from both parties able to offer amendments. He says committees would be given more independence and authority to advance legislation. While he would not commit to reversing the limit Democrats put on filibustering White House nominees last November, he said the idea would be on the table if Republicans took charge.

“If the American people give us the opportunity to put the Senate under new management, it is an appropriate discussion at that time for the new team that would be taking over the Senate, ” Mr. McConnell said in an interview. “It is a conversation for December.”

The prospect of returning the threshold for breaking filibusters on nominees to 60 votes from the simple majority established by the Democrats in November does not represent an immediate risk for Republicans. If they seize the majority, they will not need to rely on the procedural tactic to block President Obama’s nominees during his final two years in office, since they will control the agenda. And Democrats in the minority presumably would not filibuster administration choices.

Remember, the filibuster still applies right now to normal legislation and to Supreme Court nominations. It’s been nuked only with respect to other presidential appointments, including lower-court appointments. That being so, there are three reasons for McConnell to bring it back. One, per Cooke, is pure principle: If you want to restrain Congress, why not? If you’re pro-filibuster now, why be anti-filibuster just because your party’s the one in power? By re-normalizing the filibuster, maybe you’ll make Democrats think twice about re-nuking it once they control the majority again. And even if you don’t, there’s no harm in restoring the filibuster when the president comes from the other party. If anything very unusual happens to forge an alliance between Obama and congressional Republicans on a particular appointment, with the Senate’s Democratic minority the only potential obstacle to confirmation, McConnell could just nuke the filibuster then.

Two: Is it true, as the excerpt insists, that the GOP majority won’t need the filibuster once it controls the agenda? What happens if an important cabinet position opens up and Obama nominates someone further left than most, but not all, of the GOP caucus is comfortable with? Let’s say the GOP controls the Senate 51/49 and both Susan Collins and Mark Kirk decide to support the nomination. The only thing blocking confirmation at that point is McConnell’s willingness to stand firm and not bring the nomination to the floor. Is it better to do that, with Democrats screaming that they have the votes to confirm but are being undemocratically thwarted by McConnell, or is it better to bring back the filibuster and let the 49 Republican no’s kill the nomination on cloture? Establish the 60-vote threshold at the outset of the term to raise the bar for Obama’s appointees and then you don’t have to worry about whether to let the Senate vote or not. Realistically, the filibuster will still help Republicans more next year than it’ll help Democrats, even if they have a majority.

Three: Unless the GOP blows Democrats out of the water this November, odds are very good that the Dems will be back in control of the Senate in 2017. If McConnell follows Reid’s lead and leaves the filibuster nuked with respect to appointments, it becomes very easy for the next Democratic majority leader to leave it nuked also — or even to expand the nuking by getting rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments. At that point, scaling back the filibuster would simply be the status quo. By bringing it back next year, McConnell takes that talking point away. Doesn’t mean the Dems won’t turn around and nuke it anyway, but if McConnell doesn’t bring it back, it’s a fait accompli that it’s never coming back. I don’t think it much matters what he does — Obama’s got his veto to kill Republican bills whether or not Senate Dems have a filibuster too — but I can’t see any real upside in leaving Reid’s rule intact. How does the GOP benefit from a lower bar to confirmation when O’s the one appointing people?


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Bmore

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Thank you Kool. I have been busy putting together a HA tutorial for the comment box thingy.

Bmore on March 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM

This also makes it harder for Dems, should they take the Senate back in 2016, to change it back. People (in spite of the MSM’s fervent machinations otherwise) will see the difference between the actions of the two parties and start to recognize the insidious manner in which the Dems are attempting to undermine Senate proceedings.

It becomes another data point in the compare-and-contrast game. It’s a good strategic play.

nukemhill on March 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Wow. That’s comical.

You’re either in your late teens/early twenties, or have not been paying attention for the last… 20 years or so.

The Republicans have *been* nice. Last time they took the majority, the elected to split conference chairmanships with the Democrats – to be nice.

The public has had ample time to witness and compare/contrast. Fat load of f*cking difference it makes.

No. If the Republicans ever win again, they should simply f*ck the Democrats up the backside at every opportunity, and use all the levers of power to utterly destroy every f*cking one of them, personally and professionally, making such an example of them that NO ONE will ever want to run for office as a Democrat again.

Midas on March 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Kentucky, you have GOT to get rid of this RINO.

ultracon on March 3, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Screw the Democrats. If it does not matter because the Republicans would control the agenda, then it does not matter.

Leave the nuclear crater intact as a memorial to Harry Reid.

percysunshine on March 3, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Mitch McConnell: If we take back the Senate next year, we’ll consider bringing back the filibuster for appointments

Another great example of the Democrats playing to win while Republicans play to go along and get along with their Democrat Congressional frat brothers.

RJL on March 3, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Dateline Dec 2014 at GOP meeting:

Cruz: Uh Mitch I realize you won and are now the majority leader. But I think it is time you moved over and let Texans show how to be a majority leader.

McConnell: Get in my belly.

Paul: Primaries will be awesome Teddy.

Bradky on March 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Why does this post – which is stupid in every way imaginable – exist, while there is NO POST on Sarah Palin having correctly called the Ukraine situation in 2008?

williamg on March 3, 2014 at 9:55 PM

No. If the Republicans ever win again, they should simply f*ck the Democrats up the backside at every opportunity, and use all the levers of power to utterly destroy every f*cking one of them, personally and professionally, making such an example of them that NO ONE will ever want to run for office as a Democrat again.

Midas on March 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Well, if colorfully, stated.

Irritable Pundit on March 3, 2014 at 10:01 PM

williamg on March 3, 2014 at 9:55 PM

As if no other person in America was saying the same thing… I’d recommend putting it on your blog if you want it out there. You might ask KJ and see if he will guest host you on his blog….

Bradky on March 3, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Of course you will – You’re Stupid!
Stupid is as Stupid Does!

jaydee_007 on March 3, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Whether the filibuster rule should be revived or not, Mc Connell should not be chief dog catcher, let alone senate majority or minority leader!

searcher on March 3, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Getting back the senate is only in doubt because of leaders like McConnell. His capacity for defeat is underrated.

virgo on March 3, 2014 at 11:32 PM

This is part of the problem. The Republicans are honorable and the Democrats are not. And your honor doesn’t do you any bit of good when you are lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood after having been backstabbed by the dishonorable.

Theophile on March 4, 2014 at 6:22 AM

Hi I’m Mitch McConnell. Join me in voting for democrats in 2014.

el hombre on March 4, 2014 at 8:24 AM

“We” Mitch? How can you be so smug? I know, it’s an election year and therefore it’s time to pretend that you and your elitist entrenched co-ruling crowd in the GOP think you need to pretend to be opposition instead of the real problem.

Don L on March 4, 2014 at 8:31 AM

The way you teach Democrats the value of preserving and defending the filibuster is by appointing every good judge possible, appointing an EPA head whose avowed mission is to dismantle Nixons tyrannical creation and, in general, appointees who Minority Leader Chuckles Shumer will hate until the end of his days. That’s how you deal with Democrats, by shoving it down their throats.

MTF on March 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

This also makes it harder for Dems, should they take the Senate back in 2016, to change it back. People (in spite of the MSM’s fervent machinations otherwise) will see the difference between the actions of the two parties and start to recognize the insidious manner in which the Dems are attempting to undermine Senate proceedings.

It becomes another data point in the compare-and-contrast game. It’s a good strategic play.

nukemhill on March 3, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Wow. That’s comical.

You’re either in your late teens/early twenties, or have not been paying attention for the last… 20 years or so.

The Republicans have *been* nice. Last time they took the majority, the elected to split conference chairmanships with the Democrats – to be nice.

The public has had ample time to witness and compare/contrast. Fat load of f*cking difference it makes.

No. If the Republicans ever win again, they should simply f*ck the Democrats up the backside at every opportunity, and use all the levers of power to utterly destroy every f*cking one of them, personally and professionally, making such an example of them that NO ONE will ever want to run for office as a Democrat again.

Midas on March 3, 2014 at 8:07 PM

nukemhill, you are being lectured there by someone (Midas) who has actually advocated voting for democrats.

I had to point that out to you because this idiot concluded that you must be in your “late teens/early twenties” and then sums up his rant with “they should simply f*ck the Democrats up the backside at every opportunity, and use all the levers of power to utterly destroy every f*cking one of them, personally and professionally, making such an example of them that NO ONE will ever want to run for office as a Democrat again” (as if it were possible in a world that existed outside of his sandbox) that was something that I found to be pretty funny in an ironic sort of way.

V7_Sport on March 4, 2014 at 9:08 AM

I do agree that the Republicans should win the Senate in 2014. I also agree that the Democrats, as it stands now, should be able to win back the Senate in 2016.

The difference between the two sides? The Democrats will not concede 2014 without a fight and will play to win at any and all costs. Seems the Republicans will make it a foregone conclusion that 2016 is lost before the 2014 elections. Playing long ball is just not trying to predict the future. Long ball is planning to change the future. Not trying to poke you guys with a stick, but why are the Republicans so bad at strategy? Is it like a good old boys club and keeping theirs is more important than taking personal political risks to further the goals of the GOP and their voters.

I just don’t get it and I maybe I should the GOP my resume as I don’t think I could do any worse as a consultant……as the current ones they seem to hire. Again, not trolling…….just confused.

HonestLib on March 4, 2014 at 9:32 AM

after taking careful and deliberate aim, the Republicans, led by the astute wunderkind Mitchie the Kid, shoot themself in the foot…
You just can’t make this stuff up…..

colonelkurtz on March 4, 2014 at 11:12 AM

There is no “method to their madness”, it’s just sheer stupidity on display for all to see….
If you think like a loser, guess what???

colonelkurtz on March 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

The Tea Party needs to primary the hell out of Mitch the Dolt..and I will donate to the tea party candidate…

colonelkurtz on March 4, 2014 at 11:19 AM

maybe you’ll make Democrats think twice about re-nuking it once they control the majority again

I mean WTF? Liberalim is a disorder has to be immediately replaced with repulicanism is a disorder.

noeastern on March 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

My goodness, the GOP hasn’t even gotten back in control of the Senate, and McConnell is already planning the different types of Vaseline he’ll use when he assumes the bend-over position….

Bob Davis on March 4, 2014 at 1:33 PM

By re-normalizing the filibuster, maybe you’ll make Democrats think twice about re-nuking it once they control the majority again.

I realize I’m late to this thread. But, Alllah, with all due respect, this is one of the dumbest things you have ever written on here. It essentially killed the rest of this blog, which did make some good points.

cdog0613 on March 4, 2014 at 3:41 PM

If the Republicans take back the complete Congress they have a lot more to do than bring back the filibuster. The 23,000+ appointed staff of Congress better get busy too.

mixplix on March 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Musings of a Fool.

Another Drew on March 4, 2014 at 4:22 PM

As predicted, the HotAir community is reflexively against anything McConnell says or does – almost in a pavlovian way. Nevermind that rolling back the Reid rule regarding filibusters is actually a good idea, if McConnell is for it, these geniuses are against it. Somehow.

Anyway, reasons this is a good idea (I think):

1) It’s how the Senate should work. Under our Madisonian design, anti-majoritarianism pops up in various aspects of our governmental structure. And while the Filibuster isn’t part of the original Madisonian design, it’s on balance probably a good thing for those who wish to fight against the tide of history (the growth of government).

2) For the remainder of Obama’s term in office, I’d rather have a 60-vote threshold for nominees rather than a 50 vote threshold – regardless of who controls the senate. It’s not like Democrats will filibuster an Obama nominee.

3) If everyone wants to play the “kick them in the nuts” style of politics, a Republican majority could simply invoke the Reid Rule if they ever find themselves in power with a Republican doing the nominating.

4) If further magnifies what a goon Reid was for doing what he did. If McConnell keeps the Reid rule, he kind of condones the action.

In short, I don’t see any downside to revoking the Reid rule for the period of 2014 to 2016.

limecat on March 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

Jesus H. Christ, couldn’t McConnell at least get the hell out of the way if he can’t read the goddamn map?

It’s time we quit screwing around and put tire tracks up this idiot’s back.

Ray Van Dune on March 4, 2014 at 11:15 PM

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