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Sen. Tim Kaine: In Virginia, we used majority rule, still worked together

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Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, on Friday morning gave a shout-out to a majority-rules chamber over which he used to preside — the Virginia state Senate — as evidence that it’s possible for his colleagues in Washington to work together after Democrats passed historic filibuster reform Thursday.

“We didn’t have filibuster. We didn’t have cloture. We did things on a majority vote,” Mr. Kaine said on CNN’s “New Day.” “But the Virginia Senate was a very special place for these reasons: it was a small and intimate body where people have longer terms and can spend time getting to know one another, and because Senate districts are larger than House districts, it tends to produce more moderate candidates.”

Mr. Kaine said the same qualities applied to the U.S. Senate. He was elected to serve as Virginia’s lieutenant governor, who presides over the 40-member state Senate, in 2001 before being elected governor in 2005.

“There’s no reason that changing this to majority rule on appointments will create ill will — state legislative bodies, Senates, do this every day,” he said. “They find ways to work together. People of good will will find ways to work together here.”

Mr. Kaine said in voting to eliminate the 60-vote threshold for filibusters on presidential appointments, excepting Supreme Court appointments, Democrats recognized there would be a day when the party would be in the minority, but that part of a president’s mandate is an ability to assemble a team, including appointments to courts and other positions.

“We can’t allow a Senate rule to be used to nullify American law,” he said. “Are we always at our best every day? No, we’re not. But this change in Senate rules, despite all the teeth-gnashing and calling it a nuclear option … this will not cause any diminution in our ability to work together.”

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