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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.

The big picture: McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week appeared unable to reach a power-sharing agreement to organize the Senate after McConnell demanded a written commitment that Democrats would not abolish the filibuster.

  • McConnell dropped the demand on Monday night. Schumer cast this as a win, but McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he only did so because he had received public commitments not to abolish the filibuster from Sinema and Manchin.
  • Proponents of the filibuster argue it protects the interests of the minority party, while opponents say it kneecaps lawmakers from passing legislation.

What they're saying: "If your legislation can't pass the Senate, you don't scrap the rules or lower the standards. You improve your idea, take your case to the people, or both," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

  • "Four years ago, Republicans had just won unified control. President Trump and others pressured us heavily, me in particular, to scrap this rule when it was protecting the Democratic minority," McConnell continued.
  • "But we stood firm. I stood firm, endured many tweets on the subject. I said we would not do that to our colleagues in the minority. No short term policy win justifies destroying the Senate as we know it."

Go deeper

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

McCarthy: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy" of Biden's win

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked Wednesday whether he was concerned about elevating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to GOP leadership after she has promoted baseless claims about the election. He responded: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

Why it matters: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted as House GOP conference chair earlier Wednesday — in a vote that McCarthy supported — over her continued criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud.

Updated 29 mins ago - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.