CNN host Jake Tapper confronted Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Tuesday over the Democratic Party's hypocrisy on the Senate filibuster.
What is the background?
Since regaining control of the White House and Senate, Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring their moderate colleagues — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — to help them abolish the filibuster.
With the filibuster out of their way, Senate Democrats, now having control of Congress and the White House, would have the power to unilaterally enact their agenda — even if it meant tossing bipartisan notions to the wind.
Current Senate rules permit senators to speak on any issue for as long as they wish until the Senate votes to invoke cloture; this is done by the consent of 60 senators. Despite bills requiring only a simple majority to pass, legislation can be killed unless there is agreement to involve cloture. This is how the filibuster "kills" legislation.
What happened on CNN?
During the interview, Tapper asked why Democrats pushed the "For The People Act" knowing Republicans did not support the bill.
Blumenthal, who supports abolishing the filibuster now that Democrats are in power, rambled on about how the massive election reform bill is about "preserving the right to vote and stopping billionaires literally from buying elections." A confused Tapper noted that Democrats "control everything right now," and Blumenthal complained, in response, that despite their control, they cannot unilaterally enact their agenda because the filibuster acts a safeguard against one-party control.
"The filibuster rules, as the American people are beginning to understand, require us to have 60 votes just to proceed to debate, just to talk about the bill," Blumenthal said. "And that's why a lot of us, including many of our leaders, believe that we should tremendously modify the filibuster. I'm in favor of abolishing it."
That's when Tapper called out Blumenthal for doing exactly what he is complaining about Republicans doing.
"Senator, haven't you voted in favor of filibustering Republican legislation, not allowing them to even proceed to a discussion, an amendment process and debate on a bill?" Tapper asked.
"We have used the 60-vote threshold a number of times," Blumenthal admitted.
"But you're talking about it being corrupt, but you've used it, too," Tapper shot back.
Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal Called Out On Filibuster Hypocrisy: “You've Used It Too" www.youtube.com
Of course, only Republicans abuse the filibuster, the Democratic lawmaker went on to explain.
"The filibuster is a rule that stymies majority vote," Blumenthal said. "And in the 10 years since [I came to the Senate], I've seen my colleagues, one by one, decide that Republicans' overuse, abuse, and misuse of the filibuster rule — that 60-vote threshold — has led them to conclude enough is enough. And that's why there are just a handful of Democrats left who are in favor of preserving this arcane and abhorrent rule that the founders would have absolutely rejected."
"We are in no way going to abandon this fight," Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal discusses the procedural vote on… https://t.co/15qH8SB5d4— The Lead CNN (@The Lead CNN)1624396800.0