Trump Plotting One-Party Government By Forcing McConnell To Change Senate Rules To Make Dems Irrelevant
President Trump is expected to press Senate Republicans during a lunch Tuesday to change the rules to undercut Democrats and speed up consideration of his nominees for vacant court seats and executive posts, according to The Hill.
Trump said he’s “frustrated” with what he calls Democratic obstruction. “Waiting for approval of almost 300 nominations, worst in history. Democrats are doing everything possible to obstruct, all they know how to do,” Trump tweeted Saturday.
Despite some embarrassing withdrawals from blatantly unqualified nominees, Republicans on the Senate Rules Committee approved a measure last month to shorten the debate time for nominees on the floor, but the idea doesn’t have Democratic support.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has yet to say whether he will try to implement the change with a controversial party-line vote known as the nuclear option.
Conservatives such as Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) say they want GOP leaders to trigger the nuclear option, whereby Senate rules would be effectively changed with a simple majority vote.
“If I were president, I’d be asking us about it. ‘What are you going to do?’ I’d be pressing hard to change the rules of the Senate using Harry Reid’s precedent,” Johnson told The Hill Monday.
Cornyn on Monday said using the nuclear option to speed floor debate on nominees is “a good idea.”
“We need to get it done,” he said of a possible rules change.
Without the nuclear option, Republicans would need 67 votes to change the Senate rules under regular order or 60 votes to issue a permanent standing order, which would have the same effect.
But muscling through the rules change without Democratic support isn’t sitting well with moderate Republicans such as Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), who aren’t on board with the plan.
Murkowski says debate time for nominees should be shortened only if Democrats agree to change the rules.
She says a partisan rules change without Democratic votes would encourage them to run roughshod over the minority-party rights when they someday take back the chamber.
Republicans control 51 seats, but with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) away from the Senate indefinitely while he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, they have an effective majority of only 50 seats and could not afford a single defection if the nuclear option were triggered.
No Democrat is expected to vote for the rules change.
Trump has repeatedly pressed McConnell to change the Senate’s rules unilaterally to speed work on his agenda, only to be repeatedly rebuffed.
He urged Senate Republicans in January to use the nuclear option to pass an omnibus spending deal over Democratic objections.