NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLEOn Tuesday, Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block legislation for the third time during the 117th Congress. As the motion to proceed to debate S. 1, a bill to federalize elections, failed on a 50–50 party-line vote, many Senate Democrats renewed their calls to scrap the 60-vote threshold required for most legislation.
Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer should go ahead and hold a vote to eliminate the 60-vote rule even though he doesn’t have the votes to pass it.
“I would vote in favor of debating it, and then I’d vote in favor of abolishing the filibuster,” Blumenthal told National Review. “In 2011, I think it was one of my very first votes . . . was to abolish the filibuster.”
Consistency on the filibuster makes Blumenthal somewhat unusual inside the Democratic caucus.
In April of 2017, 61 senators signed a letter urging the Senate leadership to preserve the 60-vote rule for legislation. “We are writing to urge you to support our efforts to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions as they pertain to the right of Members to engage in extended debate on legislation before the United States Senate,” the 61 senators wrote to then-Majority Leader McConnell and then-Minority Leader Schumer.
Thirty-one of the 61 signatories were Democrats, but most of those Democrats now support getting rid of the filibuster.
In the Senate this week, National Review asked several filibuster flip-floppers why they changed their positions. None of the explanations made much sense.