Mike Lee slams Chuck Schumer for wanting to change the filibuster rules — but supported such changes in the past: report

Mike Lee slams Chuck Schumer for wanting to change the filibuster rules — but supported such changes in the past: report

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was vehemently critical of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on January 3, slamming his effort to change the filibuster rules as a “rash partisan power grab.” But according to Salt Lake Tribune reporter Bryan Schott, the conservative Utah Republican had no problem with altering the filibuster rules when Republicans were the majority party in the U.S. Senate.

“Lee has supported previous changes to the filibuster backed by Republicans when they’ve been in control of the Senate,” Schott notes. “In 2013, the Democratic majority eliminated the 60-vote supermajority rule for all nominations other than for the Supreme Court. Four years later, the Republican majority killed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees after Democrats filibustered the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.”

Schott adds, “The possible reforms to the filibuster could range from outright elimination to a so-called ‘talking filibuster’ that requires the opposition party to hold the Senate floor through debate.”

Lee, on January 3, argued that changing the filibuster rules would be “absurd and dangerous to the institution itself.”

But Schumer has made it clear that he is all for altering the filibuster if that’s what it takes to get a voting rights bill passed in the Senate. Two very centrist Democrats, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have been staunch defenders of the filibuster — which requires 60 votes for most legislation. However, other Democrats are hoping that Manchin and Sinema can be persuaded to agree to a filibuster exception for voting rights.

In a January 3 letter to fellow Democrats, Schumer said, “The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history.”

Schumer’s letter came three days before the one-year anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building — an anniversary that, according to Schumer, underscores the urgency of getting a voting rights bill passed in the Senate and onto President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate majority leader wrote, “Let me be clear: January 6th was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process. And the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic, or else, the events of that day will not be an aberration. They will be the new norm. Given the urgency of the situation and imminence of the votes, we as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules, if that becomes a perquisite for action to save our democracy.”

Schumer also wrote, “Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president’s Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions.”

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