Politics

Trump: GOP Senators ‘Look Like Fools’

President calls for Mitch McConnell to end 60-vote legislative filibuster in the aftermath of latest health care failure

President Donald Trump lashed out at the 60-vote Senate filibuster in a series of tweets Saturday morning in the wake of the latest health care reform failure, saying the 52 Republicans “look like fools and are just wasting time” by allowing “8 Dems to control” the country.

Trump made his frustration and displeasure known when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) failed to rally 50 GOP senators in support of the latest attempt to dismantle Obamacare and deliver health care reform. This so-called “skinny repeal” of Obamacare sank early Friday morning when three GOP senators —Maine’s Susan Collins, Arizona’s John McCain, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — voted against it.

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All throughout the summer, the GOP has struggled to corral 50 senators into agreement on various forms of repeals and replacements for Obamacare. Unsurprisingly, no Democratic senators have offered to support such measures. While some bills can be passed with a simple majority of 50, others require a supermajority of 60. In railing repeatedly against Democrats for their “obstruction” and their refusal to join their 52 GOP colleagues in supporting bipartisan legislation, Trump often has pointed to the 60-vote dilemma.

“Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW! It is killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country. 200 Bills sit in Senate. A JOKE!” Trump tweeted Saturday. “The very outdated filibuster rule must go. Budget reconciliation is killing R’s in Senate. Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!”

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“Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don’t go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time … 8 Dems totally control the U.S. Senate. Many great Republican bills will never pass, like Kate’s Law and complete Healthcare. Get smart!” Trump added. “If the Senate Democrats ever got the chance, they would switch to a 51 majority vote in first minute. They are laughing at R’s. MAKE CHANGE!”

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Kate’s Law, which passed the House with bipartisan support in late June, has stalled in the Senate as pro-illegal immigrant activists applied pressure to Senate moderates. This bill would increase the maximum penalties illegal immigrants face when caught repeatedly returning to the U.S. following a deportation. It was named after Kate Steinle, a young woman who was murdered in San Francisco two years ago by a multiple deportee. Although 24 House Democrats broke party ranks to support Kate’s Law in June, the law faces an uphill bill in the Senate and appears unlikely to garner the eight Democratic votes necessary to avoid a filibuster.

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The president’s Saturday-morning tweets followed on the heels of two Friday tweets in which he lamented how his legislative agenda has stalled in the Senate while key campaign promises remain unfulfilled because of Democratic “obstruction” and reluctant Republicans.

“If Republicans are going to pass great future legislation in the Senate, they must immediately go to a 51 vote majority, not senseless 60 … Even though parts of healthcare could pass at 51, some really good things need 60. So many great future bills & budgets need 60 votes,” Trump tweeted Friday.

With health care at an impasse, hanging in the balance as well are Trump’s hopes for tax reform, infrastructure reform, and a budget that delivers on his promises to boost military support and build the border wall. But congressional Democrats have shown little willingness to aid Trump in pushing and passing his legislative agenda as the spirit of bipartisanship continues to evaporate from Washington, D.C., as a whole.

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