HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- With Republican candidates winning the presidency and holding on to majorities in the U.S. Congress, many in the GOP are looking forward to making sweeping changes.
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said there are a number of issues the next Congress needs to address, from border security to Obamacare to trade deficits.
“I’m very much looking forward to the possibility of us being able to solve some of these challenges, based on our belief system and what we believe is the correction solution,” Brooks told WHNT News 19.
Brooks was elected to his fourth House term this week and he was thrilled how the night played out for the GOP.
“Two different kind of reactions to what happened on Tuesday,” he said. “First, I’m elated. Second, we have the responsibility of governing. And we have to carry through on our promises to the American people.”
Brooks said while there is a commitment to Republican policies, he is also concerned about how the next two years will unfold.
“The one big risk is the filibuster in the United States Senate,” he said.
Brooks wants to see the rules changed in the next Congress. Under longstanding Senate rules, a bill can be filibustered by a Senator – essentially stopped – unless 60 members of the Senate vote to end the filibuster.
“If they pass the filibuster rule in January of 2017, then that means that they have empowered the Democrats to stop everything that we try to do legislatively,” Brooks said.
With President Obama in the White House, Senate Democrats frustrated by Republicans blocking Obama nominees for various positions, including federal judgeships, looked at possibly ending the filibuster. The GOP strongly opposed that move.
Some House Republicans, including Brooks, say the current system needs to end. Democrats are expected to resist any move to repeal Obamacare and could use a filibuster in that effort.
“With the filibuster rule you now need 60 percent to pass legislation, instead of 51 percent where majority rules,” Brooks said. “And the Democrats have at least 48 Senators, 48 percent, they can stop anything, still have gridlock.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously opposed the Democrats calls to end the filibuster rule. He has cautioned his colleagues that they won’t always be in the majority, the New York Times reported Friday.
But Brooks said the rule has outlived its usefulness.
“I hope the Senate will eliminate a rule, that in my opinion is archaic, outdated and impedes progress.”