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Trump urges the Senate to ditch filibuster rule

President Donald Trump.Associated Press Photo/Alex Brandon

President Trump ranted on Twitter Saturday morning about his desire to eliminate the Senate’s rule that requires 60 votes to end the parliamentary stalling tactic known as a filibuster.

Trump demanded that the Senate instead settle all votes by a simple majority, even though the latest health care repeal bill failed this week by exactly that: a simple majority.

The GOP’s “skinny repeal,” released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, late Thursday night, failed in an early morning vote by 49 to 51. Three Republicans, including Senator John McCain, voted against the repeal to the Affordable Care Act of 2010.


It wasn’t the president’s first stream of tweets against the Senate rules, which he wrote are wasting the Republicans’ time and making them “look like fools.”

He also tweeted on Friday that needing 60 votes is “senseless.”

Trump wrote Saturday that the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster are “killing the [Republican] Party” and giving eight Democrats the power to the control the country.

He also said the “very outdated filibuster rule” must go.

Repeal-and-replace has been a guiding star for Republicans ever since former president Barack Obama enacted the law in 2010. That goal, which was one of Trump’s top campaign promises, remains out of reach even with Republicans controlling both the White House and Congress. The issue has dominated the opening months of Trump’s presidency.

But McConnell said after the bill failed early Friday that he would move to other legislative business in the upcoming week.

Early Saturday afternoon, Trump again turned to the Senate’s failure to repeal the ACA, known colloquially as Obamacare.

Then Trump threatened once more to end required payments to insurance companies unless lawmakers repeal and replace the Obama-era health care law.

The subsidies are required under the law. They total about $7 billion a year and help reduce deductibles and copayments for consumers with modest incomes. But the payments are the subject of a lawsuit brought by House Republicans over whether the law specifically included a congressional appropriation for the money, as required under the Constitution. Trump has only guaranteed the payments through this month, which ends Monday.


Trump previously said the law would stop immediately whenever those payments stop.

The Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said such a step will make health care even more expensive.

‘‘If the president refuses to make the cost sharing reduction payments, every expert agrees that premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans,’’ Schumer said Saturday in a written statement. ‘‘The president ought to stop playing politics with people’s lives and health care, start leading and finally begin acting presidential.’’

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Felicia Gans can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.