Durbin said even though Schumer was offering McConnell “word for word” the same deal it had the last time there was a 50:50 Senate, McConnell came back and still wanted absolute protection for the filibuster.
“Well, that’s a non-runner,” said Durbin.
The Senate was last between 50 and 50 early in 2001, and Vice President Dick Cheney, a Republican, cast groundbreaking votes. That lasted until May when Vermont’s Senator Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party and began meeting with Senate Democrats to give them a 51:49 head start.
Durbin said changing the rule should be considered if the filibuster becomes too common – which ultimately prevents the Senate from acting. But he said Democrats must first “see if we can initiate real bipartisan dialogue and get something done.”
He added that the Senate should pass the organization resolution without the additional McConnell language to protect the filibuster so that the focus can be put on passing President Joe Biden’s massive Covid-19 bailout package.
“Let’s get down to business, roll up our sleeves and pass this rescue package, which is to get these vaccines up and running across America as quickly as possible. We’re helping the unemployed and helping businesses,” said Durbin.