In the swamp theater, where the most powerful and ghastly of plays to score points against the other side is a government shutdown, Democrats in the Senate are positioning themselves to force one on the current administration and the leaders in the Senate.
The House of Representatives passed a spending bill Thursday – including five billion dollars for the much-discussed border wall that is currently under construction – that would prevent a government shutdown. Senate Democrats are refusing to vote for it. Therefore, the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is actively receiving pleas to use the “nuclear option,” a Democrat parliamentary maneuver, to force a vote without stopping for filibusters if a sixty vote majority cannot be reached.
Senator Steve Daines of Montana floated the option of using the nuclear option, which would allow the legislation to move forward with a 51 vote majority.
“House just passed a bill that fully funds government and enables Donald Trump to secure our border/build the wall,” he wrote on Twitter. “Senate can do same by eliminating the filibuster. 51 votes, same as we do for judges!”
Even the president chimed in.
Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done! Our Country is counting on you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
The obstacle to using the nuclear option is two-fold. McConnell himself does not like it, and a trio of senators on their way out the door have all spoken out against it.
Retiring Senators Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, and Lamar Alexander all signaled their opposition to Trump’s suggestion on Friday.
“We have rules to follow. I want to put a stop to this practice of the Senate breaking its rules to change its rules,” Alexander said in a statement. “I will not vote to turn the Senate into a rule-breaking institution and I hope that my colleagues will not.”
Yo, dudes, Y’all are leaving. Your opposition just confirms that your retirement is good for the country.
We want the spending bill.