- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama said Tuesday he supports President Trump’s desire for congressional leaders to end the legislative filibuster, arguing it must be done to get around “obstructionist tactics by Democrats” and advance the White House’s “America First” agenda through the upper chamber on a simple majority vote.

Mr. Strange, who is vying for the GOP nomination in a special runoff race against former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, announced he is sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, urging them to change the Senate filibuster, which requires a 60-vote threshold on legislation and is meant to protect the minority party from getting railroaded by the majority.

It marks a change of heart for Mr. Strange, who in April was one of 61 senators to sign off on a letter urging Mr. McConnell and Mr. Schumer to preserve the filibuster for legislation.

“Because of obstructionist tactics by Democrats and broken promises by some Republicans, very little legislation is even making it to the Senate floor,” Mr. Strange said. “While I had hoped that Republicans and Democrats would work together to accomplish the will of the American people, it has become obvious that politics and self-preservation will continue to rule the day.”

“Conversations with the President have led me to the conclusion that changing the filibuster rule is the only way we will be able to build the border wall, rein in sanctuary cities, defund Planned Parenthood, and give the American people real tax relief. It’s time to give our President and the American people what they are asking for,” he said.

Mr. Moore’s campaign said the move smacks of desperation, noting how Mr. Strange backed the legislative filibuster earlier this year.

“Luther will say anything to keep his seat in the club for Washington elites. Yesterday, Luther supported the filibuster. Today, he opposes it,” said Bill Armistead, Moore campaign chairman. “This is a blatant flip-flop that career politicians do when they’re in trouble.”

Mr. Moore and Mr. Strange are set to face-off in a Sept. 26 runoff race, and the winner is expected to go on to victory in the general election.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that Mr. Moore has a 10-percentage-point lead.

Mr. Moore won the primary race in August, where the field of candidates all vowed loyalty to Mr. Trump, but he fell short of collecting 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff race.

Mr. Strange was appointed to the seat earlier this year after then-Sen. Jeff Sessions became attorney general. He has the support of Mr. Trump and a McConnell-backed group that has spent millions on his behalf.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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