On April 7, 2017, less than four years ago, a majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate joined a majority of Republicans to sign a letter supporting the filibuster. The letter, to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, began: “We are writing to urge you to support our efforts to preserve existing rules, practices and traditions as they pertain to the right of members to engage in extended debate on legislation before the United States Senate.”

The senators continued: “We are united in our determination to preserve the ability of members to engage in extended debate when bills are sent to the floor.” The Senate plays a “unique role” in the legislative process, the senators said, and that role should continue unchanged. “Therefore, we are asking you to join us in opposing any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of senators to engage in full, robust and extended debate as we consider legislation before this body in the future,” the letter concluded.

Byron York is chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner. Contact him at byork@washingtonexaminer.com.

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