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Senate Minority Whip John Thune, who announced this week he is running for re-election, told Fox News Digital Senate Republicans need to laser focus on two simple goals over the next few months : take back the Senate and block the Democrats’ agenda.
“We want to win back the majority,” said Thune, RS.D., when asked what a successful 2022 would look like for Republicans in the Senate. “We believe it is essential for the country that there is a check and a check against this insane radical agenda that the Biden White House and the Congressional Democrats are trying to push forward.”
Thune has put together a list of policies Republicans want to fight against, including the massive Democrats’ reconciliation spending bill, foreign policy “weakness” and the president’s border policy.
“Democrats have the thinnest majorities in Congress in a generation. They have no mandate from the American people for this sweeping agenda,” Thune said.
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With the Senate split 50-50 and President Biden’s approval ratings considerably underwater, Republicans are running in a very favorable political environment. But they also defend more Senate seats than Democrats, as GOP senators who won the Republicans’ successful election cycle in 2016 are running for re-election.
That dynamic more or less levels the playing field in the Senate, as Republicans are almost supposed to be on the verge of taking over the House halfway through.
The Minority Whip has said the best tool available to Republicans to thwart Democrats until at least 2023, when they hope to win back a majority, is the 60-vote Senate obstruction, which Democrats are attempting. currently to delete for the bills on elections.
“The thing we can do… is make sure they can’t blow up the Senate rules,” Thune said. “It would destroy the Senate.
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“If Democrats made an exception for election legislation, a future Senate would likely create an exception for something else,” Thune added in a speech later today, which warned Democrats “would find the day “which they would get rid of. obstruction. “In fact, I strongly suspect that a filibuster exclusion just for electoral legislation would not even survive the coming year. I can imagine my fellow Democrats quickly deciding that another of their priorities also deserved an exemption. It is possible that the legislative obstruction would have disappeared before the end of this Congress. ”
But while highlighting his party’s defensive priorities, Thune also said there were some things Republicans can affirmatively do this year and into 2023 if they regain a majority in the Senate – though Biden will still be out. the White House with its veto pen.
The Minority Whip said there was room for a bipartisan deal on big tech bills – something Senator Maize Hirono, D-Hawaii, also said on Wednesday – that could bring more transparency and accountability. responsibility to social media platforms, their applications, artificial intelligence and algorithms.
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Thune also said that if Republicans are in the minority with filibuster, or if they are in the Senate majority with Biden in power, they can block or cut Democrats’ proposed social spending programs while lobbying. for an increase in defense funding.
He added that these agenda items, along with the potential he could play a leading role in the GOP down the road, were among the reasons he decided to run for re-election this year.
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“I think the country is sort of at a crossroads, and I am able not only to be very, hopefully, efficient and useful for my state, but also to help shape an agenda for it. United States Senate, for the Republican Party, for the country, which is built around conservative center-right principles, ”Thune said. “Whatever role I can play in helping us get there, to include potential opportunities down the road, we’ll see that if and when the time is right.”