President Trump on Tuesday called for the Senate to end the filibuster and allow legislation to pass with a simple majority, saying it would help his agenda to pass “fast and easy.”
“The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!” Trump tweeted. In fact, the GOP can pass healthcare bills and tax reform with a 51-vote majority if Republicans can reach agreements among themselves.
Trump called earlier this month for the end of the filibuster, which essentially requires 60 votes for a bill to pass the Senate.
“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” he wrote at the time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shot down Trump’s call at the time, saying “that will not happen.”
Senate Republicans are planning to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill and tax reform using reconciliation, a process that requires only 51 votes to pass budget-related measures. As a result, they would not need any Democratic votes to pass either.
Nevertheless, GOP lawmakers have remained deeply divided on healthcare and tax reform. In the Senate, some Republicans have indicated that they will try to pass their own bill measure to repeal and replace ObamaCare and will not vote on the version of the American Health Care Act passed by the House last month.
Senate Republicans voted last month to lower the vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees to 51 votes, in order to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Senate Democrats similarly changed the rules for judicial nominees below the Supreme Court in 2013.