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Arizona congressman: Senate must kill filibuster to forward Trump agenda

The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, July 31, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PHOENIX — An Arizona congressman wrote that the Senate needs to remove a 60-vote requirement to pass legislation in order to advance President Donald Trump’s agenda.

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal published Sunday, U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) wrote the filibuster gives the other side of the aisle too much say in blocking bills from moving through the legislative body.

“The only conclusion is that the Senate is controlled by the minority party,” he wrote. “Eight Democrats trump the Republican majority.”

Under Senate rules, a bill may be advanced if it receives at least 60 votes. The Republicans have 52 seats, enough for a simple majority, but not enough to push through legislation without some Democratic support.

Biggs wrote the Senate should change its rules to do away with the filibuster as the House has passed more than 200 bills this year that have stagnated in the other chamber.

“All that legislation is parked in the Senate because even getting a vote effectively requires 60 ayes,” he wrote.

The congressman also argued that current rules allow senators to play both sides of an issue they feel will never hit the vote requirement, which means “filibustering senators get to bask in the glory of success without any risk, since they can squash the legislation without having to vote against it.”

Biggs wrote the Republicans have not chosen to get rid of the filibuster is because some party members worry about what would happen if Democrats took control of the Senate. He also wrote there was a gentleman’s agreement in place between the parties to not change the rules.

However, both parties have removed the filibuster in the past to confirm certain nominees, most recently Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Biggs wrote that, by failing to remove the rule, senators who claim to be on Trump’s side are derailing the president’s legislative agenda.

“Republican lawmakers worry what might happen when they fall back into the minority,” he wrote. “Unless they repeal the 60-vote rule and pass the GOP agenda, they will find out sooner rather than later.”

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