McConnell: Senate isn’t getting rid of filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate isn’t about to change its rules to pass all votes through a simple majority, despite President Trump’s urging to do so after last week’s Senate “skinny repeal” health care vote failed 49-51 in the dead of night. 

Mr. Trump went on a Twitter rant in the days after the vote, pushing the Senate to change the longstanding rule that requires 60 votes to end a filibuster, a parliamentary tactic to delay or block a vote. But McConnell on Tuesday said that won’t be happening anytime soon. 

“There are not the votes in the Senate, as I’ve said repeatedly to the president and to all of you, to change the rules of the Senate,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters in a press conference Tuesday. 

But a rule change wouldn’t have helped the GOP Senate last week, as three Republicans defected and voted no, yielding only 49 votes in favor of the “skinny repeal” health care bill. McConnell admitted that. 

“It’s pretty obvious that our problem on health care was not the Democrats,” McConnell said. “We didn’t have 50 Republicans.”

The “good news” for the president is his top priorities like tax reform and health care don’t require anything more than a simple majority vote, McConnell added. 

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, on “CBS This Morning” said not only can’t the Senate change the rule, but it shouldn’t. 

“That would be a mistake,” Flake said. “We are at our best in the Senate when we work across the aisle.”

“I don’t want to lurch back and forth every couple of years from one extreme to the other,” Flake added. “Those rules are there for a reason. They’re good. … They invite us to work across the aisle.”

Republicans are indicating that tax reform is the next big-ticket item on their agenda, since McConnell has made it clear that health care is off the table for a long time, despite Mr. Trump’s desire to see the Senate pass a health care plan before anything else.

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