During his time as Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) became infamous for his willingness to throw precedent and protocol to the wind in order to pass Republican initiatives and stall Democratic ones.
But after key victories in Georgia Senate races earlier this year, McConnell was relegated to Senate Minority Leader as Democrats took a razor-thin majority in the chamber.
With the latest wave of pandemic relief narrowly passed, Senate Democrats' eyes are now on the passage of the For the People Act, a landmark voting rights package passed by the House earlier this month, designed to counteract Republican efforts to suppress the votes of Americans across the country.
The biggest obstacle of its passage is the Senate filibuster, which requires that most bills reach a 60 vote threshold for passage. While a significant number of Senate Democrats have expressed support for abolishing the filibuster altogether, complete elimination doesn't have sufficient support among the caucus thanks to moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Until that number changes, filibuster reform seems in reach. Manchin expressed a willingness to discuss it and Sinema is facing significant pressure from her constituents to ease her position. President Joe Biden recently expressed support for reinstating the talking filibuster.
But in a blistering Senate floor speech earlier this week, McConnell insisted that any move from Democrats to alter the 60 vote threshold would result in a scorched earth Senate the likes of which they'd never seen as soon as Republicans took power again.
McConnell went on the conservative Fox News network shortly after to deliver his talking points to its millions of Republican viewers.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Democratic calls to end the filibuster: “The Senate was created ... to s… https://t.co/jN7m7NzPWK— The Recount (@The Recount)1616012870.0
McConnell told Fox News' Harris Faulkner:
"The Senate was created on purpose, Harris, not to function like the House. To slow things down, to kill bad ideas, to force bipartisanship. All the things the Democrats believed in as long as there was a Republican in the White House are conveniently thrown aside, as soon as they think there is a chance they could advance their steam roller agenda, which the American people certainly did not give them a mandate to pursue in last November's election."
Despite what McConnell would have the American people believe, the Senate filibuster is not in the U.S. Constitution and as only made theoretically possible by a change in Senate rules in 1806. It wasn't used until 1837. For over a century afterwards, it would be used to preserve racist Jim Crow laws and limit civil rights legislation.
People responded to McConnell's characterization of the Senate and corrected the record on the filibuster.
The bipartisanship feint is utter crap, and anyone who still falls for it is a fool. McConnell is defending a sys… https://t.co/T7zkxNYQ5R— Jesse Wegman (@Jesse Wegman)1616091978.0
@therecount I do believe the Senate was created to be the deliberative body doing the people’s work. Not to seat un… https://t.co/yHN7gCIPRz— STFUAndGoAwayTraitorDon (@STFUAndGoAwayTraitorDon)1616013090.0
@therecount The senate was created to ensure that white wealthy landowners had the final say on legislation 🙄— Alex (@Alex)1616012970.0
@therecount Nonsense -- the Senate was created before political parties even existed!— barb dybwad (@barb dybwad)1616018299.0
@therecount The filibuster is not in the constitution. It wasn't some great idea the founders thought up. It's a we… https://t.co/FtpiWvxDIO— Proper Gander (@Proper Gander)1616016297.0
They also called out the hypocrisy of McConnell and the Republican party's position.
@therecount Yeah... he's always been big on unity 🙄 https://t.co/7hNotpYSqw— Kimmer (@Kimmer)1616034071.0
GOP: Forget bipartisanship. Let's use our majority to pass 1.9T tax cut for billionaires, 2 SCOTUS justices, & repe… https://t.co/7LxIoVVG1c— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@Qasim Rashid, Esq.)1616091551.0
Which is why he passed a massive tax cut for the wealthy on a party line vote and rushed through a lifetime appoint… https://t.co/BPvXDQMZWS— Ian Bassin (@Ian Bassin)1616091697.0
This McConnell’s is the thesis of McConnell’s career: The Senate is to slow things down (impede progress), to kill… https://t.co/giI8BpN2YI— 🇵🇷 M3Writer🇺🇸 (@🇵🇷 M3Writer🇺🇸)1616092275.0
As Democrats move to maintain their majority by passing the legislation on which they campaigned, the filibuster battle is just beginning.