Sixty-one senators urged their party leaders to preserve the filibuster for legislation on Friday, backing the procedural tool after Republicans scrapped the minority’s power to block Supreme Court nominees.
But 37 senators declined to endorse the effort, including senior members of both parties as well as firebrands on the left and right.
Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons organized Friday’s bipartisan letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as a way to move past the bitter partisan debate on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed earlier Friday.
Collins and Coons were among the moderate senators who had hoped, in vain, for a deal to allow Gorsuch’s confirmation without Republicans detonating the “nuclear option,” which unilaterally ended the 60-vote threshold for high court nominees but not for legislation.
“After the contentious and polarized debate of the past few weeks, I am hopeful that this letter indicates a new determination by a bipartisan group of more than 60 senators to move forward to solve the pressing problems facing our nation,” Collins said in a statement.