Frustrated by the evenly split Senate, some Democrats in Congress’ upper chamber have been calling for a rules change regarding the filibuster, a long-standing procedural tool that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.
It’s a call that President Joe Biden, as a former senator from Delaware, has been somewhat resistant to support. But according to a new report from The Daily Wire, it seems Biden may now be changing his tune.
Biden said in a recent interview that he would support “whatever it takes” — including altering the rule or even killing the filibuster entirely — to pass through Congress an election reform bill that has been widely criticized as highly partisan.
In other words, all of the talk of respecting norms and restoring credibility in the nation’s institutions has apparently gone out the window, if it means Democrats can get their progressive priorities to the president’s desk.
Biden signals support for killing filibuster
The assertion from Biden came in an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday. There, the president was asked by anchor David Muir about Senate Democrats’ inability to get a so-called voting rights bill passed, due to the use of the filibuster by Republicans. “Are you prepared to support fundamental changes in the Senate rules to get this done?” Muir pressed.
“Yes,” Biden replied with little hesitation, according to the Daily Caller. Asked to elaborate, he added, “It means whatever it takes. Change the Senate rules to accommodate major pieces of legislation without requiring 60 votes.”
“So you support a carve-out of the filibuster for voting rights?” Muir clarified. Biden was curt in his reply:
The only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster. I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster.
EXCLUSIVE: Pres. Biden to @DavidMuir: “If the only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster, I support making the exception of voting rights for the filibuster.” https://t.co/jaaJVXY2EW pic.twitter.com/O42GECbIxO
— ABC News (@ABC) December 23, 2021
“Prepared to support changes”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked during Thursday’s daily briefing to confirm the president’s stance on the matter. She made clear that he meant he what he said.
“You know, the president has spoken to his view — his strong view — that getting voting rights legislation passed is a fundamental priority for him,” Psaki told reporters, according to a White House transcript. “It’s something that is essential so that people across the country are able to exercise their right to vote, to participate in the democratic process. That’s something he has always believed, always been committed to.”
As he said in his answer last night, we may not have to go to that, but he is prepared to support changes if that’s the only thing standing in the way of getting this done.
Asked if Biden would extend his support for ending the filibuster to other pieces of legislation, Psaki doubled down. “Well, he’s happy to have that conversation with Democrats. And certainly, we expect that to be a part of the conversations that will be had in the year ahead,” she said, according to the transcript.