VIDEO: Download Bennet’s speech on the Senate floor
Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to invoke the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules and dramatically limit the time available to debate certain judicial and executive branch nominees.
“Today’s votes will represent the latest degradation of the Senate’s responsibility to advice and consent,” Bennet said. “The integrity of our rule of law demands that we escape this spiral of retaliation over judicial nominees, not hasten it…The partisan temper that is destroying this place needs to come to an end. And we need to make sure that between now and whenever that happens, we don’t take down the rest of government with us.”
“What I really hope is that we can change what we're doing here in the Senate so that we can protect and preserve the independence of our judiciary, and that maybe we'll even move beyond the partisanship that is bringing the Senate to its knees today,” Bennet concluded.
Senate tradition requires 67 votes, or two-thirds of the body, to change Senate rules. Majority Leader McConnell’s invocation of the nuclear option allows him to bypass this requirement with 51 votes. Today’s vote is the latest step by McConnell to alter the Senate’s bipartisan tradition. In April 2017, he used the nuclear option to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch. During President Obama’s administration, McConnell led an unprecedented blockade of judicial and executive branch nominees, culminating in his refusal to vote on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.