Senate Republicans rejected President Trump’s demands that they go “nuclear” and change Senate rules to eliminate the legislative filibuster in order to pass a funding bill with $5 billion for his wall on the Mexican border.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) spokesman confirmed that the Senate does not have enough votes to change its rules.
“The Leader has said for years that the votes are not there in the Conference to use the nuclear option. Just this morning, several Senators put out statements confirming their opposition, and confirming that there is not a majority in the conference to go down that road,” said David Popp, McConnell’s communications director.
Trump urged McConnell Friday morning to pull out all the stops to fund the wall.
“Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!” he tweeted.
“I’ve long said that eliminating the legislative filibuster would be a mistake,” said outgoing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“It’s what’s prevented our country for decades from sliding toward liberalism. It’s inconvenient sometimes, but requiring compromise is in the interest of both parties in the long term,” Hatch said.
Retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) pledged that he would not vote to eliminate the 60-vote filibuster in order to clear money for the border.
“The Senate filibuster is about the only mechanism left in Washington that brings the parties together. Deploying the nuclear option would blow that up. I will not vote to do it,” Flake said.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who also is retiring early next month, said he would “continue to follow rules relative to legislation as they exist today as I finish my term.”
And Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, added that he would also not vote to use the nuclear option.
“We have rules to follow. I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules. I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not,” said Alexander, who announced this week that he would retire at the end of the next Congress.