NEWS & ANALYSIS

FILI-BUST: McConnell Drops Filibuster Demand, Clearing Path for Full Democrat Senate Control


Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled Monday night that he was open to a power-sharing agreement, abandoning his demand the democrats sign a written commitment to keep the filibuster. 

“Today two Democratic Senators publicly confirmed they will not vote to end the legislative filibuster. They agree with President Biden’s and my view that no Senate majority should destroy the right of future minorities of both parties to help shape legislation,” McConnell said in a statement. 

“The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate’s last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001. With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent,” he added. 

This means that the future direction of the Senate rests in the hands of two Democrat Senators who have suddenly become the most powerful people in Washington. 

Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voiced support for the longstanding rule. 

“Kyrsten is against eliminating the filibuster, and she is not open to changing her mind about eliminating the filibuster,” a spokesperson for Sinema told the Washington Post Monday, per the Daily Caller.  

Manchin made a similar statement. “I do not support doing away with the filibuster under any condition. It’s not who I am,” he told reporters.

Democrats including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said that the party is not willing or able to promise to maintain the filibuster, which left the chamber stuck in the mud. 

“We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand,” a spokesperson for Schumer said late Monday.

“We look forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people.”

The Senate is split 50-50 along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the Senate president. This gives democrats narrow control as the tie breaking vote to push Joe Biden’s legislative priorities, NBC News reports

McConnell had been pushing for democrats to promise to preserve the 60-vote threshold to pass nearly every piece of legislation – the rule known as the filibuster – in exchange for the transfer of control of the Senate’s committees. 

He had long warned that eliminating the filibuster would be detrimental to the Senate. 

“This threat to permanently disfigure, to disfigure the Senate, has been the latest growing drumbeat in the modern Democratic Party’s war against our governing institutions,” McConnell said in Septembre, according to The Hill. 

Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer has previously said that Democrats would “do what it takes” to advance their policy goals, even if that means abolishing the filibuster, the Daily Caller reports. 

We can expect a detailed power-sharing plan to be released later this week, modeled after the 2001 Senate agreement between Sens. Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, Axios reports.