Feinstein: Nuking Filibuster Is a 'Non-Issue'

Senator Dianne Feinstein on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., May 8, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters )

On Thursday, Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein scoffed at the notion Democrats would nuke the filibuster:

Feinstein’s comment surprised some reporters because the California senator had released a written statement on the night of Friday, March 19 in which the senator said she was “open to changing the way the Senate filibuster rules are used.”

The March 19 Feinstein press release came hours after National Review had reported that Feinstein, when asked if she still supports the 60-vote threshold for legislation, said: “I do right now, yes.”

“The Senate is an institution, and this is part of that institution,” Feinstein said of the filibuster. Asked if there was anything Senate Republicans could do to get Feinstein to change the rule to 51 votes, she told me: “I haven’t gone that far in my thinking, because I just know that votes aren’t there to do it.”

As a matter of tone and emphasis, the difference between Feinstein’s own comments and the Feinstein statement released by her staff was striking, but there wasn’t much of a substantive difference. As I noted back in March, “the statement released Friday night by [Feinstein’s] staff seems more like an attempt to placate progressive activists than an outright abandonment of her position.”

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