Fix the Senate Now Blasts Mitch McConnell’s Self-Filibuster

A coalition of labor and environmental groups are targeting Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s self-filibuster, saying it underscores the need for reforms.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell challenged Senate Democrats to support his proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the U.S. debt limit unilaterally.

Mr. Obama is asking for the power as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations. But when Democratic Leader Harry Reid proposed passing the measure by a simple 51-vote majority, McConnell quickly objected.

Instead, he argued, such a controversial decision required a filibuster proof 60 vote majority.

“Mitch McConnell has been the chief opponent of fixing the Senate and reforming the filibuster. And this is a prime example of why the filibuster needs to be fixed,” says Melinda Pierce, a spokeswoman for Sierra Club, which is a member of the Fix the Senate Now coalition.

McConnell’s office did not respond to WFPL’s request for comment, but a spokesman did tell The Courier-Journal’s James Carroll on Friday that Kentucky’s senior Senator “opposes giving the president unlimited power to raise the debt ceiling.”

Since Democrats took control in 2006, Republicans have used the filibuster 386 times and Reid has proposed a rule change to take effect in January.

“This has got to stop, and the absurdity of Mitch McConnell self-filibustering, I hope finally brings home that we need to fix the Senate and get on to doing the business of the people,” says Pierce.

Last week, McConnell defended the GOP’s use of the filibuster and called the Democrat’s push for a rules change a “power grab” after the election.

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