GOP to Defend Filibuster at All Costs

( – Republican senators have vowed to defend the upper chamber’s filibuster rule. The controversial tactic often used to run out the time available for a bill and prevent it from coming to a vote, has faced frequent challenges from Democrats. Republicans have mostly used it when they’re in the minority — but they say they want it to stay even if they retake control of the Senate after November.

The filibuster rule is one of the most controversial features of debates in the Senate. If no other senator is speaking, any member of the chamber can speak for as long as they want — potentially using up all the time for debate on a bill. A filibuster can only be shut down by a 60-vote supermajority vote, which usually can’t be achieved, so it’s an extremely effective blocking tactic. That tends to make it unpopular with the majority party, who see it being used to obstruct their legislative program.

One prominent Republican who opposes the filibuster is presidential candidate Donald Trump. Hoping to be back in the White House in January with an ambitious program for government, he doesn’t want to risk Democrats abusing the filibuster to stop him from doing what he was elected to do, and he’s threatening to abolish the rule. However, his own party’s senators have vowed to stand up to him on this issue.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) says Trump has threatened to scrap the filibuster at least 30 times; even though Democrats used it to kill his own border security bill in February, he says the rule is “a hallmark of our democracy” and praised it as “a uniquely American invention.” Lankford insists it must be preserved, and other GOP senators support him. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said that the day Republicans overturn the rule would be the day he resigns his seat. In a rare bipartisan display, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) are standing with their Republican colleagues on this, potentially setting Trump up for a confrontation early in his potential new administration.

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