Trump Still Doesn’t Understand the Filibuster

The president is not a very bright man.

President Trump on Tuesday called on the Senate to end the legislative filibuster after the collapse of the Republican healthcare plan.

“The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes. Even parts of full Repeal need 60. 8 Dems control Senate. Crazy!” Trump tweeted.

This is stupid on a number of levels. First, Trump’s health care plan just failed at the 51 (or 50+1) vote threshold. By using budget reconciliation rules, the Republican leadership in the Senate had already bypassed the legislative filibuster that necessitates a 60-vote majority.

Second, it appears that Trump did not realize that a full repeal of Obamacare would require a 60-vote majority until after he demanded a vote. This is because the regulatory structure of the Affordable Care Act cannot be touched under budget reconciliation rules. This is vitally key information that the president should have understood when he was still a candidate crafting his campaign proposals.

Third, it appears that someone has finally explained all of this to Trump as a reason why the Republicans will not just go ahead and pass the same Obamacare repeal act that they passed in 2015. If they repeal the revenues from Obamacare but not the regulations, the entire insurance market will collapse. Trump just demanded that the Republican Party do this, and now he’s discovered why they will not.

Which gets him back to the legislative filibuster. If only it didn’t exist then the whole budget reconciliation gambit would not have been necessary in the first place. But he signed on to this strategy not only for Obamacare repeal but for tax reform.

And, yet, he’s never understood the obstacles or the math involved.

He’s so clueless and lacks basic self-awareness that he doesn’t even have any shame about letting us all see how rampantly idiotic he is and how badly he’s been leading his party.

No one should be angrier about this than Republican lawmakers who must be shaking their collective heads in disbelief.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.