Mo Brooks wants to end Senate filibuster, but promises to use it for Trump’s border wall

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In the heat of a battle for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, Mo Brooks seems to fall on either side of the issue of filibusters.

As first noted in POLITICO Morning Score, a fundraising email from his Senate campaign – with the subject line “End the Filibuster”– the Alabama congressman argues: “The filibuster rule is not in the Constitution. In fact, it’s not even a law. The only purpose it serves right now is obstructing the President’s every legislative goal.”

Brooks has often called for the end of the Senate filibuster, a procedural rule that allows for minority members to block or stall legislation.

“Our Republican Senate majority is killing our conservative agenda, our Republican agenda, and President Trump’s agenda,” Brooks said on the House floor Wednesday morning. “The murder weapon is the Senate filibuster rule, an archaic accident of history created during the days of horse and buggy, and slavery.”

First used in 1837 – and reinforced in 1975 — legislative filibusters can only be broken by invoking cloture, requiring 60 votes. Several Senate Republicans, including Rand Paul, have used filibusters in the Obama era; Democrats have been using the same tactic to stall the Trump administration’s agenda.

In 2013, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz used a 21-hour speech to filibuster against Obamacare, during which he quoted Dr. Seuss, praised White Castle hamburgers, imitated Darth Vader and talked about the TV show “Duck Dynasty.”

However, in a campaign ad released July 10 – called “Build the Wall” — Brooks says something a little different about filibusters: “Elect me to the Senate, and I’ll fight every spending bill that doesn’t fund [Trump’s border] wall.

“And if I have to filibuster on the Senate floor,” he adds, “I’ll even read the King James Bible until the wall is funded.”

The Huntsville Republican is in a fiery midsummer battle with incumbent U.S. Sen. Luther Strange for the Aug. 15 special primary to finish the term of now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In February, then-Gov. Robert Bentley appointed Strange to fill Sessions’ seat.

Brooks is part of a crowded 10-person Republican field that includes former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. If no candidate reaches 50 percent plus one in the primary, the top two vote-getters will face a runoff Sept. 26; the general election is Dec. 12.

Roll Call reports that recent internal polling is putting Moore in the lead with 27 percent, Strange at 23 percent and Brooks at 21 percent.

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5 Comments

  1. Phil Amman. Mo Brooks here. Your editorial fails to grasp the nuances of Senate rules and how they interplay with the Border Wall Issue. Chuck Schumer and the Democrats use the filibuster to thwart border wall funding. If we repeal the filibuster rule, then our GOP majority of 52 senators can, by a mere majority vote, pass legislation to fund the border wall. If we don’t repeal the filibuster rule, then a senator can fight fire with fire, turn the tables on the Democrats, and bring the issue to a head via use of the filibuster rule. No border wall funding, no bill passage absent a 60% cloture vote against one filibuster or the other. Mo Brooks

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