Senator John Kennedy defends the filibuster with Senator Chuck Schumer’s own words.
Mr. President, My friend Senator Schumer and some of my Democratic friends would like to change one of the enduring institutions of this institution. They want to get rid of the filibuster and I call it the 60-vote threshold. And a reasonable person might ask, why not? Institutions change all the time, change is the law of life. I’ll tell you why not Mr. President. I want you to hear these words of wisdom.
“We are on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis. [Getting rid of the filibuster] The checks and balances which have been at the core of this Republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option, [getting rid of the filibuster], the checks and balances which say if you get 51 percent of the vote you do not get your way 100 percent of the time . . . If you get 51 percent of the vote you do not get your way a 100 percent of the time in the United States Senate. That is what we call abuse of power. There is, unfortunately, with of extremism in the air.”
Those are words of wisdom. That’s Senator Chuck Schumer, May 18, 2005.
Mr. President, if we change the 60-vote threshold we change this institution which is part of the institution of the United States Senate. It will gut this body like a fish, like a fish, and everybody in this body knows that is that is accomplished our institution will look like a scene out of Mad Max. America is a . . God what a wonderful place. It’s a big, wide, open, diverse, sometimes dysfunctional, all sometimes imperfect, but good country, with good people in it. And I want to emphasize the diversity part, Mr. President. You know what constitutes the good life in my state may not constitute the good life in Connecticut, or in California, or in Florida, or in Maine. And that’s one of the reasons that we have and have had the institution of the 60-vote threshold. If you’re going to make a law that’s going to impact the entirety of this big, wide-open, diverse country then you ought to have 60 votes, because if you only have 51 votes 51 percent of the vote does not get your way a 100 percent of the time, and it’s worked for a long time.
Now Mr. President, I don’t want to sound like I’m lecturing because I get it, I get it. I get that my Democratic friends and some of my Republican friends, who frankly probably thinking about this, but I just took my Democratic friends won’t to, they want to serve their president. We all want to serve our president, but you especially want to serve your president when the president is of your own party. I remember when President Trump, now, like President Biden, said change the filibuster. Get get rid of it. I can’t get my bills passed. We said no. And by we I mean Republicans and Democrats. Here’s the letter, right here. It was led by Senator Collins, a Republican, and Senator Chris Coons. I signed it. We said no. Now, President Biden wants to do the same thing. That’s what presidents do. They try to pass their bills, so I can get it. And to my Democratic colleagues and any Republican colleagues that are thinking about voting for Senator Schumer’s change of heart, I want to tell them I get it too, I get it. I know the frustration. I have felt it. I talked about it on this floor before. You know, we all come up here for one reason, to make this country better. And we’re ready to go to work, and we want to debate. And we want to decide. We didn’t come up here for delay. We didn’t come up here for stultification. So I get it. I get the frustration. But you don’t satisfy those aims by not following these words of wisdom by Senator Schumer.