By Matt Fuller, CQ-Roll Call (TNS)
WASHINGTON — House conservatives are increasingly pushing the Senate to “go nuclear” and change filibuster rules so a Homeland Security Department funding bill that would block President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration can move forward. But according to a Republican House member, it’s not just the House pushing for that change.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said Friday that he had spoken to senators who support changing the filibuster rules.
“I’ve talked to senators who have expressed to Mitch McConnell that we need to protect the United States Constitution and we need to expand Harry Reid’s nuclear option to include must-pass legislation dealing with financing of the federal government,” Brooks said.
Brooks would not say exactly how many senators he’d talked to expressing that opinion, nor would be provide any names.
“McConnell has received the message from members of his own body, but again it’s going to come down to whether you’ve got 51 members of the United States Senate who are willing to put the Constitution first and foremost,” Brooks said.
Brooks doesn’t quite see the current debate over the Homeland Security bill as a problem of Democratic making. He said Republicans have the tools to override Democrats, who have stalled the bill in the Senate by repeatedly voting down a procedural motion to take up the legislation.
“We do not have 51 senators right now who have shown a willingness to place the United States Constitution above antiquated Senate filibuster rules,” he said.
Brooks was among the first Republicans to call on McConnell to stop the filibuster for appropriations bills, and he was joined in that call by conservatives Thursday.
But McConnell employing such a tactic still seems unlikely. Even Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested Thursday that he didn’t support changing the rules.
“I think the Senate rules wisely protect the minority,” Cruz said. “The answer is not to change the Senate rules. The answer is for Senate Democrats not to be obstructionist.”
But either way, Brooks continues to believe pushing for a change in the Senate filibuster rules is the best move. When he was presented with some of the Senate Republicans opposed to that idea, Brooks noted that it only took 51 votes to change the rules.
“And they can be from either party,” he said.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr