CNN weekend anchor Jim Acosta claimed Saturday that Democrats should go ahead and get rid of the filibuster in order to pass their agenda down party lines, arguing that if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had the opportunity, he would do the same.
“Democrats could think about it this way: If Mitch McConnell were in their shoes, what would he do? Given what we know, would we see him letting the filibuster stand? Is the filibuster more important than election rights, women’s rights…” Acosta asked, apparently referencing HR-1 — the Democrats’ attempt to overhaul federal elections and wrest them from the state control outlined in the Constitution.
Acosta: Democrats could think about it this way: If Mitch McConnell were in their shoes, what would he do? Given what we know, would we see him letting the filibuster stand? Is the filibuster more important than election rights, women’s rights… pic.twitter.com/90ZwDIoAdT
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 4, 2021
What Acosta appeared to forget was that McConnell actually did have the opportunity to get rid of the filibuster as recently as last year — he was the Senate Majority Leader from 2015-2021, and Republicans held the Senate with a larger majority than the 50/50 plus a vice presidential tie-breaker that Democrats currently hold.
As @Acosta plays Dem strategist here — trying to invent an absurd pretext to destroy the Senate — remember that CNN bills this as straight news, not opinion.
You’d expect a top political reporter to remember that McConnell was in D’s shoes a YEAR ago, didn’t nuke the filibuster. https://t.co/EJJbncr1lo
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) December 4, 2021
Despite having the power to end the filibuster — and rumors that then-President Donald Trump would have liked him to do so on several occasions — McConnell refrained from doing so. Trump reportedly used the same argument on McConnell that Acosta used Saturday, telling him that if he did not end the filibuster, then Senate Minority Leader (and now the Majority Leader) Chuck Schumer (D-NY) certainly would.
Or you could ask yourself this: What *did* Mitch do? Despite tremendous pressure from Trump, McConnell refused to dismantle the legislative filibuster.
Which, by the way, is a complete non-sequitur to Supreme Court appointments, as Acosta knows, or *should* know. https://t.co/V4G0zoe9vk
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 5, 2021
“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. We do have some pretty big differences about a number of things, but there are a lot of things we do together,” McConnell told Politico in 2018. “I think both sides, having been up and down a number of times, understand the advantages when you’re not in the majority. What I remind the president of occasionally when we have this discussion is but for that we would have socialized medicine [and] right-to-work would have been eliminated across the country.”
While McConnell was not ready to make unilateral rule changes in the Senate himself, he was willing to use the unilateral changes made by his predecessor, former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) — changes that he had warned years earlier would come back to bite Democrats if they pushed them through.
Reid instituted the so-called Nuclear Option — which allowed for federal judges to be confirmed by a simple majority rather than the typical 60-vote requirement, thus avoiding the filibuster — in 2013 over McConnell’s objection: “You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think.”
Just three years later, with Republicans at the helm, the use of the nuclear option allowed Mitch McConnell’s Senate to confirm and seat an unprecedented number of federal judges — and three Supreme Court Justices: Justice Neil Gorsuch, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett.