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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) again warned Democrats on Tuesday that eliminating the legislative filibuster would "break the Senate" and turn the chamber into a "100-car pileup" where chaos reigns.

Why it matters: Democrats are under increasing pressure from progressives to set aside the filibuster for issues of exceptional importance, such as voting rights legislation that would counter the wave of voting restrictions being passed by Republicans at the state level.

  • But moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said they oppose abolishing the measure, as has President Biden.

Driving the news: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said on Monday that the filibuster is "making a mockery of American democracy" and is holding the chamber "hostage."

  • Durbin expressed opposition to abolishing the filibuster in 2018 when Republicans held the majority, stating that it would be "the end of the Senate."
  • Asked about his change in position on Tuesday, Durbin told HuffPost's Igor Bobic: "Sen. McConnell taught me that I was wrong. He managed to use and abuse the filibuster so many times and stopped the Senate in its track."

The big picture: The filibuster, which makes most legislation in the Senate subject to a 60-vote threshold, is meant to protect the interests of the minority. But it has increasingly led to deadlock and turned the Senate into a legislative graveyard for bills passed by the House.

What they're saying: McConnell warned on the Senate floor Tuesday that if Democrats eliminate the filibuster and Republicans take back the majority, "we wouldn't just erase every liberal change that hurt the country — we'd strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero, zero input from the other side."

  • He promised that a Republican majority would immediately defund Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, push abortion restrictions, ramp up security on the southern border and more.
  • "Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like," the Republican leader warned.

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak.
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings.
  5. World: Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Maryland lawmakers override Hogan vetoes of police accountability legislation

Marion Gray Hopkins with Coalition of Concerned Mothers speaks during a rally promoting police reform on March 4 in Annapolis, Maryland. Photo: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Maryland's Democratic-controlled legislature on Saturday voted to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's vetoes of police accountability legislation.

Why it matters: Maryland is the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, the Washington Post notes.