Congress Senate

Missing the Point on the “Nuclear Option”

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

A number of congressional Republicans seem to be under the mistaken belief that if we simply eliminate the filibuster and embrace the "nuclear option," the flood gates would open up and they could finally repeal the president's executive orders and deferred action program for DREAMers.

Labrador and Huelskamp said at an event held in conjunction with the Heritage Foundation that the executive actions merited something as dramatic as a change to the Senate's long-standing rules. They argue that spending bills should only need 51 votes, instead of 60, to advance.

"Mitch McConnell can change the rules of the Senate. And this is important enough for Mitch McConnell to change the rules of the Senate," Labrador said.

There's a big problem with this idea.

Even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to eliminate the filibuster, allowing the Senate to pass the House bill, the president isn't going to sign it. Neither he or any other president is going to sign a bill that would roll back their executive orders, especially not one as important as the deferred action program.

Even at the expense of the Department of Homeland Security, no president is going to repeal their own orders.

The only way this ends is if Congress funds the Department of Homeland Security, temporarily or otherwise, with no strings attached. Congressional Republicans do not have the votes necessary to override a presidential veto.

I would be remiss not to point out that congressional Republicans made nary a peep about the need for 60 votes during the previous session of Congress. Senate Republicans even objected to their own bills and amendments on several occasions.