House Speaker John Boehner escalated a battle in the Senate this week to make rules more favorable to the Democrats in charge by issuing a threat to block all future bills passed under the new filibuster procedures.
“Any bill that reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats??? heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival,” said Boehner, Ohio Republican.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is working to eliminate the minority party’s opportunity to filibuster legislation, bucking tradition the party out of power often uses to block or amend controversial bills.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is leading the opposition to the rules change, arguing it would alienate the constituents Republicans have been elected to represent.
“Senate Democrats??? attempt to break Senate rules in order to change Senate rules is clearly designed to marginalize Senate Republicans and their constituents while greasing the skids for controversial partisan measures,” Boehner said.
“I question the wisdom of this maneuver, especially at a time when cooperation on Capitol Hill is critical, and fully support Leader McConnell???s efforts to protect minority rights, which are an essential part of our constitutional tradition,” Boehner said.
Not all Democrats are convinced it’s a good idea, as the tables could turn if they lose control of the Senate in the 2014 election. Reid is hoping to change the rules on the first day of the new session in January, when Democrats will control the Senate 55 to 45. Filibusters require 60 votes to be broken.
Rather than changing Senate rules, McConnell says Democrats need to change leaders.
“What we need is a majority leader with a different view about the Senate, consistent with its norms and traditions,” McConnell said.