In an interview by ABC News on Tuesday, President Biden said he supported Senate filibuster reform rather than scrapping it.
“What it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days. You had to stand up and command the floor. You had to keep talking,” said Biden in the interview, talking about how he supports filibuster reform. President Biden said this after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) warned that eliminating the filibuster entirely would destroy the Senate. McConnell stated on Tuesday, “Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like.”
The filibuster originated in 1806 after the United States Senate eliminated a process to end debate on legislation known as the “previous question” motion. In 1917, after the Senate filibustered President Wilson’s push to arm merchant ships to protect them against German U-Boats, they adopted Rule 22. Rule 22 allowed the Senate to officially end the filibuster after a two-thirds vote and created a time limit of 30 hours and can be extended with a three-fifths vote. The votes required to end a filibuster today are three-fifths of the Senate or just 60 votes, and multiple bills can be decided on at the same time, both changes implemented in the 1970s.
Senator Joe Manchin (W. Va-D) wants to make the filibuster more painful, saying, “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years”. The anti-filibuster group “Fix Our Senate” exalted Manchin’s remarks as a great way to get past partisanship in the Senate by saying, “Sen. Manchin just saw Senate Republicans unanimously oppose a wildly popular and desperately-needed COVID relief bill that only passed because it couldn’t be filibustered, so it’s encouraging to hear him express openness to reforms to ensure that voting rights and other critical bills can’t be blocked by a purely obstructionist minority.” Sen. McConnell also added this to his comments on abolishing the filibuster, “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.” The Senate requires 67 votes, or two-thirds, in order to change the rules of the Senate.
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ARTICLE: JACOB ZUBY
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNBC