It is frustrating to hear Republicans blame the 60-vote cloture rule in the Senate for the failure to pass legislation on “the wall” during President Trump’s first two years. During that time the GOP had majorities in both the House and Senate.
While the cloture rule is an obstacle in ending debate and getting to a vote on legislation, it should not be used as an excuse for Republican senatorial inaction. Even if cloture were improbable, Republican senators should have put legislation on the border wall through the Senate’s processes well before the deadline for a government shutdown. The negotiation and amendment processes could have led to Senate compromise.
The cloture rule may not be the best way to end debate in the Senate. Unless it is repealed, however, Republicans should not use it as a crutch, but must work within its bounds. It might have been difficult to pass legislation for the border wall, but it certainly would have been easier to do so before the Republicans lost the majority in the House.