GOP filibuster threats against Rice: The numbers don’t add up

Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).
Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ).
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

On Wednesday’s show, guest host Ari Melber and the panel discussed the current standoff on Capitol Hill over UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s possible nomination as Secretary of State in the second Obama administration.

Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have threatened to filibuster Rice if she is nominated. The problem?

The Senators need to line up some more support from their colleagues. According to’s Zachary Roth’s reporting, of 42 GOP senators questioned, only four committed to opposing Rice while only one other senator—John Barrasso of Wyoming—said that he’d join McCain and Graham’s call for a filibuster.

In addition to McCain and Graham, the four GOP senators currently on record as opposing Rice are: Sen. John Cornyn R-TX), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID). Six senators is far from the 40 needed to mount a successful filibuster under Senate rules.

“It seems like the Republican line is not holding on this, ” Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said. “I think she makes it.”

Ninety-seven House Republicans wrote a letter to President Obama Monday voicing their concerns about Rice, but their words have no power behind them. Under the U.S. Constitution, the Senate is the only body that approves cabinet nominations.

Asked by whether Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would support a filibuster against Rice, his spokesman refused to weigh in, saying, “We haven’t put out anything on that yet”—another sign that opposition to Rice , while vociferous, is not very broad.

“I think the president’s willing to have this fight,” The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart said.


GOP filibuster threats against Rice: The numbers don't add up