Understandably, Republicans have absolutely had it with the Democratic posturing, lectures, and most of all the complete 180s they’ve done regarding preserving the filibuster, and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is no exception to that rule.
For example, just last week Cotton shut down his Democratic colleague Dick Durbin after the Illinois Senator stupidly compared the left’s battle to get rid of the filibuster to “the young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, running straight into enemy fire knowing well that they might die to preserve democracy.” Cotton’s underlying message to Durbin was simple: What were you saying again, you hypocrite?
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 16, 2021
Fast forward nearly a week later, and on the day that the Democrats’ beloved H.R. 1/S.1 bill went down in flames thanks to the filibuster, Cotton again took to the floor of the Senate, this time eviscerating Senate Democrats for completely changing their tunes after four years of arguing against doing away with the filibuster during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Beginning by noting Democrats claimed Republicans were using the filibuster because they didn’t even want to debate the so-called “For the People” act, Cotton said the reason there should be no debate about the bill was that Republicans didn’t believe elections should be “federalized,” preferring to leave them in the hands of the states.
He then proceeded to bring receipts to counter Democratic claims about how Republican use of the filibuster is supposedly an “unprecedented affront” to having democratic debates in the Senate, noting that the filibuster was used “repeatedly, hundreds of times in the last administration” by Democrats.
Democrats, he reminded folks, “voted not even to have a debate” on the coronavirus relief bill last summer, a package “which could have gotten aid to families and businesses when they needed it.” Instead, they waited to pass “almost exactly the same bill” after the presidential election.
They also blocked debates on Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform bill and bills to protect babies who survive abortions, Cotton also noted.
“The filibuster has to go, they say it’s a racist relic of the Jim Crow era. I will acknowledge that some Democrats over the years used the filibuster to block civil rights progress,” Cotton said in a zinger. “But I’ll also remind my Democratic colleagues that, yes, they used the filibuster hundreds of times in the last administration.”
Cotton also entered into the record a letter co-authored in April 2017 by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in which they argued to keep the filibuster rules in place. It was signed by 60 Senators, some of who are still in the Senate today. Most of the Democratic Senators who signed it, Cotton said as he read down the list, had conveniently done about-faces on the issue once Joe Biden became President.
What’s changed? he asked rhetorically. Who controls the Senate has, of course.
In closing, Cotton shook his head and said that he wished that his Democratic colleagues “understood that the shoe can pinch when it’s on the other foot.”
As per the norm, Cotton is right on the money here. As far abusing the filibuster goes, abusing it the way Democrats in the minority did was exactly why President Trump wanted it gone. Then-Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wisely declined.
The rest, of course, is history – right along with the H.R. 1/S.1 bill, thank goodness.