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McConnell Backs Off Senate Filibuster  01/26 08:19

   Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell backed off his demand that Senate 
Democrats preserve the procedural tool known as the filibuster, easing a 
standoff with new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as the two negotiated a 
power-sharing agreement in the closely divided chamber.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell backed off his 
demand that Senate Democrats preserve the procedural tool known as the 
filibuster, easing a standoff with new Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as the two 
negotiated a power-sharing agreement in the closely divided chamber.

   McConnell said late Monday he had essentially accomplished his goal after 
two Democratic senators said they would not agree to changing the rules to end 
the filibuster, which would require a 60-vote threshold to advance most 
legislation. Without the support of all Democratic senators, a rules change 
would fail.

   "With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing 
agreement modeled on that precedent," McConnell said in a statement. He did not 
name the Democrats, but West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten 
Sinema had expressed reservations to doing away with the tool.

   Schumer's office said the Republican leader had no choice but to set aside 
his demands.

   "We're glad Sen. McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous 
demand," said Justin Goodman, a spokesman for the Democratic leader. "We look 
forward to organizing the Senate under Democratic control and start getting 
big, bold things done for the American people."

   The standoff between the two leaders all but ground the Senate to a halt in 
the early days of the new Democratic majority as the two sides could not 
organize the chamber's routine operations for committee assignments and 
resources. The stalemate threatened President Joe Biden's ability to deliver on 
his legislative agenda.

   Usually a routine matter, the organizing resolution for the chamber became a 
power play by McConnell once Democrats swept to control after the Jan. 5 
special election in Georgia.

   Even though McConnell did away with the 60-vote threshold to confirm 
President Donald Trump's three nominees to the Supreme Court, he wanted to 
prevent Democrats from doing the same with Biden's legislative agenda.

   Democrats were under pressure from liberal advocates to do away with the 
filibuster so they could more easily pass Biden's legislative priorities 
without the need for Republican votes. The Democrats hold the slimmest of 
majorities in the chamber, 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to 
cast the tie-breaking vote.

   Schumer had not said he would end the process, but McConnell was taking no 
chances. McConnell made the brazen demand to keep the filibuster before 
agreeing to any other organizing terms for the Senate. Schumer's refusal to do 
so put the chamber at a standstill.

   The details of the rest of the organizing resolution were not yet set, but 
they were expected to proceed with any immediate changes to the filibuster, at 
this stage, appearing to be off the table.

 
 
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