After his party’s stinging defeat over health care legislation, President Trump tweeted Saturday that the Republicans in the Senate “look like fools” and should do away with the filibuster, even though scrapping a 60-vote requirement would still not have saved the doomed bill.
The president’s morning tweetstorm comes barely a day and a half after Republicans in the Senate failed to muster even the 50 votes needed to pass a “skinny” bill to repeal key parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.
The narrowly written bill was crafted under the budget reconciliation rules specifically to avoid requiring a 60-vote threshold, but it still failed to win even 50 votes, despite Republican control of the chamber 52 to 48.
Three Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona, voted “no,” joining the solid 48-vote Democratic bloc to scuttle the legislation.
On Saturday, Trump charged, however, that eight Democrats “totally control the U.S. Senate” and that many great Republican bills would fail under the current rules.
“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,” the president wrote in one of four tweets.
In fact, the Republicans really needed only 50 votes in the health care debate because Vice President Pence could have provided a tie-breaker.
“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!” the president tweeted at 7:20 a.m.
Nineteen minutes later, he hammered away at the same theme: “The very outdated filibuster rule must go.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!”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while scrapping the filibuster for judicial appointments and the Supreme Court, has so far made it clear that he does not support doing away with the filibuster for most legislation.
One key reason: It would offer his party leverage if and when they should fall into the minority in the future.