MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - U.S. Senator Luther Strange, R-AL, now supports the implementation of the so called legislative "nuclear option" which would reduce the number of votes needed to cloture, or end debate, of a filibuster from a 3/5ths majority to a simple majority.
Filibusters are a major tool for the minority party to help prevent and slow down unwanted pieces of legislation. Senate Republicans used the rule while they were the minority party throughout the Obama administration.
Earlier in 2017, Strange joined 60 other senators in signing a letter to Senate leadership that expressed their desire to keep the current rules as they are.
"The filibuster and 60 vote threshold is one of the significant issues that really prohibits Republicans and Democrats from working together," Strange said at a news conference Tuesday, "and as long as we have that, I have become convinced we are not going to get anywhere."
In a letter to Senate leadership, Strange said he has rescinded his signature and is promoting a rule change.
"We have not addressed any of the issues I hear about when I talk to people around this state," Strange said. "I think this will be a significant step forward in actually getting things done in Washington."
If the nuclear option were to be invoked, it could be easier for Republicans to pass legislation on topics like immigration, healthcare, and more. However, if implemented, there is fear about the long term consequences.
It didn't take long before Roy Moore's campaign responded to Strange's policy shift.
"Luther will say anything to keep his seat in the club for Washington elites. Yesterday, Luther supported the filibuster. Today he opposes it. This is a blatant flipflop that career politicians do when they're in trouble," said Moore Campaign Chairman Bill Armistead. "Judge Moore has been very clear on this issue, supporting President Trump, while as late as April of this year, Luther Strange was signing letters to [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell with [Senator] John McCain and [Senator] Jeff Flake pledging his support for the filibuster. How can Alabamians trust Luther Strange if he will say anything to get elected and put the Senate club's rules over the interests of America?"
Strange's campaign said Moore has also changed his stance on the nuclear option, referencing an interview from 2016 when Moore said the senate should
"keep the framework they've got" when asked if the Senate should use the nuclear option to approve the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Strange and Moore are locked in a battle to win the Republican nomination for the seat vacated by now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The winner of the run-off will face Democratic nominee Doug Jones in the special election in December.