POLITICS: PennAve

Mitch McConnell: GOP majority won't change filibuster rules

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he will not lower the 60-vote threshold for passing legislation in the Senate next year if the GOP wins the majority in November.

“I do not favor turning the Senate into a majoritarian institution, even though we would probably have some short-term advantage for doing it,” McConnell said Thursday at a forum hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

Senate Democrats earlier this year changed the rules of the Senate so that only 51 votes, not the typical 60, are needed to confirm executive branch and judicial nominees.

The rules change, however, does not apply to legislation. Democrats have hinted they may lower the threshold for passing bills as well because the GOP has repeatedly blocked measures they favor, most recently an energy efficiency bill and a bill to revive a package of tax cuts.

McConnell said Republicans won’t lower the legislation threshold if they take the majority.

“I think it’s important,” McConnell said of the 60-vote threshold, "be it ever so frustrating when you are setting the agenda and still can’t get to 60.”

But McConnell would not say whether Republicans will hold onto the 51-vote requirement for executive and judicial nominations, which Democrats say is meant to exclude Supreme Court nominees.

“That is a discussion for December, if we are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity by the American people to set the agenda,” McConnell said.

McConnell is in a difficult fight for reelection and is tied in the polls with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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