President Donald Trump predicted the downfall of the Republican Party in an interview Friday unless lawmakers in the party make a significant change to Senate rules.
In an interview with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Trump said lawmakers must repeal the legislative filibuster.
“They have to get rid of the just absolutely crazy voting where you need 60 – it’s called the filibuster rule – it’s a disaster,” Trump said. “It’s a disaster for the Republicans. They have to get rid of it. If they don’t get rid of it, it’s just a death sentence.”
The legislative filibuster allows Democrats to block any bill that does not have the support of 60 senators. Since there are only 52 Republicans in the chamber, any bill (outside of the reconciliation process) that the GOP wants to pass needs to win over eight Democrats.
That has held up a slew of bills passed by the Republican House.
Trump partly blamed this filibuster for the failure of the Republicans’ latest attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I thought that when I got to the Oval Office I would have a bill on my desk. Repeal and replace, a beautiful healthcare bill, and it didn’t happen,” Trump said.
That bill, however, was not subject to the filibuster since it was going through the budget reconciliation process. The bills failed because more than two Republicans defected, not because Democrats blocked it.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has brought up ending the filibuster: It is a frequent topic of his tweets. It also reportedly grates on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, contributing to the pair’s frosty relationship.
Recently, House Speaker Paul Ryan has joined Trump in saying the rule should be ended, increasing the pressure on McConnell.