By Jess Andrews
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today spoke on the Senate floor warning that Democrats’ attempt to change the Senate rules would ignore America’s diversity and silence American voices.
Key excerpts from Kennedy’s speech include:
“My friend Sen. Schumer, and some of my Democratic friends, would like to change one of the enduring institutions of this institution. They want to get rid of the filibuster, and I call it the 60-vote threshold. And a reasonable person might ask, well, why not? Institutions change all the time. Change is the law of life.
“I’ll tell you why not, Mr. President. I want you to hear these words of wisdom: ‘We’re on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis’—getting rid of the filibuster. ‘The checks
and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option’—getting rid of the filibuster. ‘The checks and balances which say if you get 51 percent of the vote you do not get your way 100 percent of the time.’ If you get 51 percent of the vote, you do not get your way 100 percent of the time in the United States Senate. ‘That is what we call abuse of power. There is, unfortunately, a whiff of extremism in the air.’
“Those are words of wisdom by Sen. Chuck Schumer, May 18, 2005. Mr. President, if we change the 60-vote threshold, if we change this institution, which is part of the institution of the United States Senate, it will gut this body like a fish. Like a fish. And everybody in this body knows that if that is accomplished, our institution will look like a scene out of Mad Max.
“America is a—God, what a wonderful place. It’s a big, wide open, diverse, sometimes dysfunctional, oftentimes imperfect, but good country, with good people in it. And I want to emphasize the diversity part, Mr. President. You know, what constitutes the good life in my state may not constitute the good life in Connecticut, or in California, or in Florida, or in Maine.
“And that’s one of the reasons that we have and have had the institution of the 60-vote threshold. If you’re going to make a law that’s going to impact the entirety of this big, wide open, diverse country, then you ought to have 60 votes. Because if you only have 51 votes, ‘51 percent of the vote does not get your way 100 percent of the time.’ And it’s worked for a long time.”
. . .
“Iremember when President Trump—now like President Biden—said, ‘Change the filibuster. Get rid of it. I can’t get my bills passed.’ We said ‘no.’ And by we, I mean Republicans and Democrats.
“Here’s the letter, right here. It was led by Sen. Collins, a Republican, and Sen. Chris Coons. I signed it. We said ‘no.’ Now President Biden wants to do the same thing. That’s what presidents do—they try to pass their bills. So, I get it. And to my Democratic colleagues, and any Republican colleagues that are thinking about voting for Sen. Schumer’s change of heart, I want to tell them I get it, too. I get it. I know the frustration. I have felt it.”
. . .
“But you don’t satisfy those aims by not following these words of wisdom by Sen. Schumer.”