Sasse Defends Filibuster: 'You'd Set the Senate on Fire'

March 24, 2021, 2:31 p.m. ·

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse delivers his speech on the Senate floor (Screenshot).

Listen To This Story

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse defended the Senate’s structure that protects against a majority rule Tuesday in a speech on the Senate floor.

Senate Democrats don’t have enough votes to remove the legislative filibuster, which allows senators to delay a bill by debating more, sometimes for days on end.

Sasse said the decision is the Senate’s most important policy debate in decades. He said there’s no reason to be a United States Senator if the Senate doesn’t foster real debate bigger than simple majority power.

"If you want a lame, mean politics that aims only to own the libs or drink conservative tears, this is how you bring that crap show about. You'd set the Senate on fire," he said.

Sasse recalls when House Republicans tried to remove the filibuster after President Trump was elected. Senate Democrats penned a public letter to defend the filibuster.

"The only thing that changed in the last two years is who's in power," he said. "When Democrats were in the minority, you were fierce defenders of this 'indefensible Senate prerogative."

Sasse believes whenever a party threatens to do away with the Senate’s super-majority requirements, they always tell themselves three things: might makes right, the other side, politically, is the enemy that cannot be persuaded, and the federal government is the only government we have.

"None of these things are true," he said. "I resisted a President nominally of my own party when he beat me up in private and in public for defending the filibuster when my party was in the majority. Republican Senate leaders stood up to him as well, despite lots of ridicule from House Republicans."

Sasse ended his floor speech by urging Senators to consider the consequences of removing the filibuster. He told them, "in a time where institutions are being consumed, let’s not consume another."