President Donald Trump called on the Senate on Tuesday to do away with its legislative filibuster, a move he said would enable the body to pass two pieces of legislation in order to dodge the 60-vote threshold.
“The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning, even though bills to repeal and replace Obamacare and overhaul the U.S. tax code are both expected to move through Congress via a process called reconciliation that would require just 50 “yes” votes in the Senate.
The president’s call for the removal of the filibuster is likely to receive a frosty reception in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged never to kill the threshold for legislation for as long as he is in control of the Senate.
The filibuster rule was weakened in 2013 by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who removed it for judicial confirmations except for the Supreme Court. McConnell again went nuclear earlier this year, removing the filibuster for Supreme Court confirmations as well.
“Who would be the biggest beneficiary of that right now? It would be the majority, right?” McConnell told reporters last April when asked about the prospect of undoing the legislative filibuster. “There’s not a single senator in the majority who thinks we ought to change the legislative filibuster. Not one.”
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for McConnell said the majority leader agrees with Trump that the two pieces of legislation are needed.
“Senator McConnell agrees that both health care and tax reform are essential and that is why Republicans in Congress are using the reconciliation process to prevent a partisan filibuster of these two critical legislative agenda items,” McConnell spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said.
Seung Min Kim contributed reporting for this story.