WASHINGTONÂ â After the dramatic failure of Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, a frustrated President Trump has renewed his call for the Senate to throw out its filibuster rule and push through his agenda with a simple majority vote.
“Don’t give up Republican senators, the World is watching: Repeal and Replace … and go to 51 votes,” Trump tweeted Sunday, repeating calls he made earlier in the weekend to kill the filibuster.
But experts say the president’s unsolicited advice ignores two major realities.
First, the Senate health care bills were not filibustered by Democrats, who were prevented by Republicans from using thatÂ tool. GOP leaders employed a budget procedure to allow theÂ billsÂ to be approved with just 51 votes. Republicans, who hold 52 seats in the Senate,Â failed because they could not convince enough of their own senators to support the bills. The final bill brought to the Senate floor early Friday morning failed 49-51, with three Republicans voting against it.
Second,Â asking senators to give up the filibuster is asking them to give up their greatest power.
“An individual senator’s ability to prolong debate and block a vote is what makes senators, even a freshman, very powerful,” said Frances Lee, a political science professor at the University of Maryland. “They can force coalition-builders to come and talk to them, find out their issue and try to accommodate them … So they wouldn’t give up that power unless the Senate literally could not function. Even then, it might be hard to change the…