Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the floor Tuesday to claim that if Democrats change the filibuster now that they are in charge, it would be a "scorched Earth" move. The problem with the claim, according to one former senator, is that McConnell is the one who broke the senate to begin with.
Speaking to MSNBC's Brian Williams, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that McConnell's threats at this point are empty because there's nothing worse that he can do whether in or out of power.
"Well, that's what he's trying to do, but I've got news for Mitch McConnell: he kind of broke the senate," she said. "He's the one that has used the rules in a way they were never intended to be used. And he has done it with gleeful abandon over and over and over again. The senate has become broken. The regular order is gone. There's not debate. There are no amendments. It is just a mere shadow of what it used to be. So, the question is, should you have to stand up and own your obstructionism?"
Democrats are arguing that the filibuster should require its original intent, standing and holding the floor to lobby the public for or against a bill. Right now, it's the threat of a filibuster that is ending legislative progress. That threat then requires a 60-senator majority to end. Democrats are suggesting a "Mr. Smith" rule, named after the Jimmy Stewart's character in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," who infamously filibustered until overcome with exhaustion while trying to have a boys camp in a national park. The bill becomes a window into Washington corruption when an idealistic young Senator wants nothing more than to help the country's children,
McConnell is "bragging here that they would be the ultimate obstructionists if there's any reform of the filibuster," McCaskill explained. "Well, that's not going to be a very smart thing to do politically. That's not going to garner him the hearts and minds of American voters. That's not going to win the day for the Republican Party. So, a lot of this is an empty threat, but the bottom line is we need to reform a process so that if somebody wants to obstruct, they own it, and that the American people can see who's doing it and figure out why. And then make their judgment on Election Day. I don't think that will turn out well for Mitch McConnell's party."
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