President Trump might need to hire a vote counter in the West Wing. That person would be able to explain to the president why Senate Republicans are in no rush to eliminate the legislative filibuster despite his constant pleas.
Their reluctance is not just some longing for the better, bygone days of bipartisanship, but also a recognition that Republicans have passed just about all they can on a simple majority.
Senate Republicans are too divided to pass party-line legislation, whether on a border wall or the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and instead need Democratic support to get just about anything done. All of that makes the “nuclear option,” as the heavily partisan way of changing Senate rules is known, pretty pointless. There’s nothing that they can’t pass with 60 votes that they can pass with 51 votes.
Yet Trump does not see this reality and instead continues to demand that Republicans blow up the Senate’s long-held rules, most recently under the misguided belief that eliminating the filibuster would bring about legislation to build a massive border wall.
“Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People,” the president wrote Monday on Twitter.
A day earlier, he hit on the same theme. “Getting more dangerous. ‘Caravans’ coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws,” Trump tweeted.
These presidential demands previously prompted senior Republicans to explain their continued support for the supermajority of at least 60 votes to cut off debate on most pieces of legislation.