Hatch: GOP Should Preserve ‘Nuclear Option’

In a Politico op-ed, Sen. Orrin Hatch says the GOP should force Democrats to live with the consequences of their decision last year to circumvent the Senate’s longstanding filibuster rules.

Writes Hatch:

Because Republicans will soon control the Senate and its committees—and can therefore slow or block controversial nominations by other means—the rule is irrelevant for the next two years. And readopting a 60-vote threshold for nominees now is unlikely to do much good in the long run. By taking the extraordinary step of eliminating nomination filibusters by a bare majority vote, Senate Democrats demonstrated nothing short of contempt for that standard. A temporary return to the 60-vote threshold would last only until the next Democratic majority found abolishing the rule in its political interest.

Rather, an immediate return to the prior nominations standard under Republican control would only reward Democrats for their misdeed and—since they have reaped the benefits but borne none of the costs—Democrats would have further incentive to engage in procedural abuses. Such a return would do nothing to prevent the same cycle of abuse from repeating itself in the future. To safeguard the Senate’s core procedural protections—including the indispensible and truly historic legislative filibuster—Democrats must live with the consequences of such abuses when voters return them to the minority.