Democrats knocked down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s attempt to protect the filibuster as part of the Senate’s power-sharing deal. McConnell (R-Ky.) had wanted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to include protecting the filibuster in any deal they agree to on how to organize the evenly-split Senate.
“We’re not going to give him what he wishes. If you did that then there would be just unbridled use of it. I mean nothing holding him back,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-most powerful Democrat in the Senate.
McConnell had wanted assurances that there would be no use of the so-called “nuclear option,” which would allow Senate rules to be changed with a simple majority vote.
“It’s unclear if an alternative to protecting the filibuster in writing, like a handshake agreement between Schumer and McConnell or a floor speech by Schumer, could satisfy both sides and get the talks back on track. Democrats are poised to have their first caucus call since taking over the majority on Thursday,” The Hill reported.
Senate Republicans invoked the nuclear option in 2017 to remove an exception imposed by the formerly Democratic Senate to allow majority votes on all matters except for Supreme Court nominations to speed up the confirmation process for Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch.