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McConnell calls for Senate filibuster to continue as he and Schumer attempt power-sharing agreement

The respective Republican and Democratic chamber leaders continue hashing out of power ahead of impeachment trial.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(Pool/Getty)
Updated: January 22, 2021 - 4:40pm

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Friday signaled his opposition to ending the Senate filibuster, a minority-party tool utilized to torpedo measures by drawing out the parliamentary process indefinitely, as he and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer attempt to hammer out a power-sharing agreement in the chamber.

"Our current Democratic colleagues used it liberally over the last several years when they were in the minority," McConnell said. "More than two dozen signed a bipartisan letter in 2017 saying our Republican majority should not break this rule by brute force."

"So we’ll continue to request that our Democratic colleagues reaffirm this standing rule of the Senate which they have been happy to use themselves," he also said.

Republicans are maintaining power in some areas in the U.S. Senate even as Democrats enjoy a vice presidential tie-breaking majority there. The Senate's current organizing resolution, a holdover from the last Congress, has left Republicans at the helm of some Senate operations, including chairing the hearings for new President Joe Biden's Cabinet picks.

That arrangement comes as the Senate looks to hold former President Trump's impeachment trial starting as early as Monday.

The existing Republican power in the Senate means that the trial – scheduled to begin a full month earlier than McConnell had requested – may derail confirmation hearings and other Senate business in the earliest weeks of Biden's presidency.

Trump's impeachment trial will constitute not only the second such proceeding against a U.S. president but also the first trial to be held after the impeached president has left office. Trump departed Washington on Jan. 20 to make way for the Biden administration. 

Democrats have alleged that the president "incited" the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn on Friday said that, absent "some agreement" ahead of the trial, the Senate "won't be doing any confirmations, we won't be doing any COVID-19 relief, we won't be doing anything else other than impeaching the person who's not even president."

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