“The View” co-host Joy Behar believes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would not hesitate to get rid of the filibuster if Republicans retake the upper chamber — but history has something else to say.
Co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin pushed back on the notion Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is “basically a Republican” because she supports the filibuster — a procedural hurdle that requires 60 votes to overcome and advance most legislation.
“She doesn’t want to see the policies just undone when the Senate switches,” Griffin said.
However, Behar suggested Sinema’s defense of the legislative filibuster might be naive because Republicans would be quick to eliminate it if it got in their way.
“Do you think it’s naive to think that if the Republicans take over the House and the Senate that they will not overthrow the filibuster if it doesn’t work for them?” she asked.
Behar went on, “She thinks that she’s keeping the filibuster. Mitch McConnell has plans up his sleeve. Believe me.”
Watch the video below:
Ignorant of recent history and how Congress works, Joy claims “if the Republicans take over the House and the Senate” they would “overthrow the filibuster.”
The GOP had the Senate under Trump and McConnell refused to kill the filibuster for him, as Alyssa Farah Griffin explained. pic.twitter.com/ShxoO4w73y
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) September 27, 2022
But Griffin pushed back as she correctly pointed out McConnell stood up to former President Donald Trump’s repeated calls to get rid of the filibuster.
While some on the left like to see McConnell as a craven political actor who will do anything to ram through his agenda, he has been around long enough to know that the Senate will switch hands eventually. And when control of the Senate changes, the filibuster is a useful tool for the minority party.
McConnell did get rid of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017. But his move came after Democrats got rid of it for other executive branch appointments. Other than that, he has stood strong against getting rid of the procedural hurdle.
In 2018, McConnell told Politico about Trump’s pressure to get rid of the filibuster, “I don’t think the legislative filibuster, which has been around for a long time, is a problem. And it does, I think, generate on many occasions kind of a bipartisan solution, and I don’t think that’s always bad for the country.”
“I think both sides, having been up and down a number of times, understand the advantages when you’re not in the majority,” he added. “What I remind the president of occasionally when we have this discussion is but for [the filibuster] we would have socialized medicine [and] right-to-work would have been eliminated across the country.”
Once you get rid of the filibuster for legislation — even just a carve-out — it will likely not come back.
And eventually, the other party will be in power, and they will take advantage of the precedent to ram through their legislation.
This is something Sinema knows too.
Democrats and liberals may think making the argument of “if we don’t do it now, the other side will,” is a good excuse when it comes to changing the filibuster. However, history has shown McConnell is not going to jump first on changing the filibuster rules. But once the genie is out of the bottle, he’s not afraid to build on the precedent.
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