Democrats will regret eliminating the filibuster should they get their way, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., warned Tuesday.
While pointing out Democrats' hypocrisy regarding the filibuster, Capito also said the opposition party is claiming to be protecting "voting rights," but instead is desperate to advance its "radical agenda."
"With the slimmest of majorities, Democrats haven't been able to pass their wildly unpopular and dangerous agenda," Capito wrote in a Fox News opinion column.
"As a result, they are considering using the nuclear option to eliminate the Senate's 60-vote threshold for legislation. And, they are doing it under the guise of 'protecting voting rights.'"
Progressives want to eliminate the filibuster so they can pass their voting rights legislation. Moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have said the filibuster should be retained.
In a chamber divided evenly along party lines, Democrats need every member to back a measure that can pass via the simple majority "nuclear option."
"Ramming radical policies through Congress without even attempting to gain consensus is not what the founders envisioned," Capito wrote, "and it’s not how Americans want us to operate."
Capito explained that President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at one time strongly supported keeping the filibuster, which is used to delay or prevent a vote on legislation by prolonging debate.
"So, what changed? Well, Democrats now can't get their way, so they want to change the rules," Capito wrote. "If we change the rules to where only 50 votes are needed to pass legislation, there will be zero motivation for the two sides to work together."
The junior senator from West Virginia pointed out that Senate Democrats used the filibuster more than 300 times during the Trump administration. She also reminded people that 32 Democrats joined Republicans in a 2017 letter advocating preservation of the filibuster.
Capito said that the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., wrote in 2010 that, "the Senate has been the last fortress of minority rights and freedom of speech in this Republic for more than two centuries. I pray that Senators will pause and reflect before ignoring that history and tradition in favor of the political priority of the moment."
Late Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., chose not to follow Byrd’s recommendation.
Reid in 2013 was the architect of the "nuclear option," which ended the 60-vote rule for ending any filibuster on presidential nominations except for the U.S. Supreme Court.
Four years later, when Republicans held the majority in the Senate, then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., retaliated with a "nuclear option" that ended the filibuster on Supreme Court appointments.
"Rest assured, those willing to change the rules to benefit themselves will do it again and again and again," Capito wrote in her column. "Today, it's supposedly about 'voting rights.' Tomorrow, it will be about gun control. And the next day, it will be about open borders.
"The last time Democrats changed the rules to benefit themselves in the short term, Leader McConnell rightly predicted they would regret it. This time, with much more on the line, will Democrats regret doing it again? You bet they will.
"But, unfortunately, the country will suffer the consequences."
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