- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2017

Sen. Jeff Flake said Monday that changing the Senate rules to invoke the nuclear option would be “a mistake.”

“That would be a mistake. We are at our best in the Senate when we work across the aisle,” Mr. Flake, Arizona Republican, said on CBS News.

He said that changing the rules would push the Senate to extremes every time the majority changed hands and argued the rules are in place for a reason. The so-called nuclear option would allow Republicans to pass controversial bills like health care with a simple 51 majority instead of a 60 vote requirement.

“I don’t want to lurch back and forth every couple of years from one extreme to the other,” he said. “Those rules are there for a reason.”

When asked whether Mr. Trump will support him in his own re-election bid next year, Mr. Flake said that’s up to the president but pointed to the troubles with an already narrow Republican majority.

“We have a small majority. I think we’ve reached about the limits of what we can do just with our small majority,” he said.

Mr. Flake is out with a new book, “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle.” The book talks about the 2016 election and how the Arizona senator sees his party abandoning conservative principles.

He also said that some of Mr. Trump’s policy decisions and actions in office are not conservative, like his “protectionist” leanings.

Mr. Flake kept the book quiet from his colleagues, and even his staff, until a few weeks ago because he didn’t “want to be talked out of it,” noting that writing something controversial in an election year is risky.

Mr. Flake is up for re-election in 2018 and is considered one of the two only true competitive seats for Democrats to flip next year.

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