Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell on Senate filibuster rule changes – Nov. 21, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) on changes to the Senate’s filibuster rule on Nov. 21, 2013:

Good afternoon. This is not a very proud day in the history of the Senate.

In order to distract attention away from Obamacare, the Senate has just broken the rules in order to change the rules.

We’ve had this threat for sometime now. At the beginning of each of the last two Congresses, we’ve had a discussion about rules changes.

Sen. [Lamar] Alexander was right in the middle of those and will give you an update on what had happened back in January just to refresh your memory.

But after that, the Majority Leader had said we’d set the rules for this Congress. Well, obviously, that was a commitment not kept. We thought he’d said, “If you like the Senate rules, you can keep them.” But in fact, we ended up having another discussion in July with another threat of the so-called nuclear option and then you’ve seen what they’ve done today.

Talk about a manufactured crisis. We’ve confirmed 215 judges and defeated 2.

And the problem with regard to the DC Circuit is entirely related to the size of the court and the size of the docket. We took exactly the same views Senate Democrats took during the Bush administration that there was no rationale for extending or increasing the membership of the D.C. Circuit. Exactly the same rationale. A letter signed by [Chuck] Schumer, [Ted] Kennedy and others saying there is no need for additional judge with judicial emergencies in other parts of the country.

So this is nothing more than a power grab in order to try to advance the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda, and you know they just broke the Senate rules in order to exercise the power grab.

So I would sum it up by saying it’s a sad day in the history of the Senate. After today, advise and consent probably means to them 100% consent.

Sen. Alexander will give you now the statistics on how common rejections of nominees have been in the past because I think it’ll be an eye opener for you.

Sen. McConnell, what do you do from here? …How will Republicans respond to this?

Sen. Mitch McConnell:
Yeah, I don’t think this is a time to be talking about reprisals. I think it’s a time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate – the greatest deliberative body in the world, the only legislative body that I’m aware of where a majority doesn’t get to do anything it wants to at any point without consultation with the minority. So I’m not interested in discussing possible reprisals. I think it’s not been good for the Senate.

There’s a lot of nervousness on the Democratic side. They’re in a panic about Obamacare. The Majority Leader’s desperately trying to change the subject. We want to get back on the subject. For most Americans what they’re thinking about right now is they’re losing their health insurance, their premiums are going up, jobs are being lost, and we need talk about what the American people are most concerned about.

If you guys win the majority and you’re Majority Leader, will you abide by this ruling today or will you try to move to reinstate prior precedent?

Sen. Mitch McConnell:
You guys know how much I love answering hypothetical. Obviously, I’m not going to answer that. I’m not going to answer that but I will say this: The American people are deeply disturbed by this administration and this Senate. And as Sen. Alexander ended his remarks by saying the solution to this problem is an election. The solution to this problem is at the ballot box. We look forward to having a great election in November 2014. Thanks.




Learn More: