McConnell opposes Trump on ending filibusters

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken a key procedural step to begin voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. | AP file photo

WASHINGTON — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing back against President Donald Trump’s calls to end Senate filibusters.

When filibusters of legislation are underway, it takes 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to halt them.

Republicans now control the chamber 51-49. But strong Democratic opposition and some defecting GOP senators have kept Republicans from getting the votes needed to end the shutdown — now in its second day.

McConnell has long defended the filibuster. He said Republicans will welcome it whenever they are returned to the Senate minority.

As the Senate began a rare Sunday session, the Kentucky Republican said: “I support that right from an institutional point of view.” But he also said, “The question is, when do you use it.”

Earlier Sunday, Trump said if the government shutdown drags on, Republicans should consider changing the rules in the Senate to make it easier to pass legislation without votes from Democrats.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said that would mean the end of the Senate as the Founding Fathers envisioned it.

Durbin told ABC’s “This Week” that “we have to acknowledge a respect for the minority.”

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