Biden signals support for fundamental changes to Senate filibuster

Even after he took office in January, President Joe Biden had come out against changing filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate. But he appears to have changed his tune.

According to Breitbart, Biden signaled for the clearest time on Thursday that he’s open to ending — or significantly altering — the filibuster in what many see as a last-ditch effort for the president to get his agenda passed through Congress.

In its current iteration, the filibuster rule in the Senate essentially makes it so 60 votes are needed to get a piece of legislation through to the president’s desk. With the Senate’s current make-up, which consists of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, the rule requires Democrats to get at least 10 Republicans on board to pass legislation.

“Bring that back”

It’s a threshold that hasn’t been easy for Democrats to meet. Now, the president himself is suggesting change is necessary to get what his party wants.

“Here is the deal,” Biden told CNN on Thursday, according to Breitbart, “if, in fact, I get myself into at this moment the debate on the filibuster, I lose at least three votes right now to get what I have to get done on the economic side of the equation, foreign policy side of the equation.”

Biden said a short-term solution to the long-term stalemate in Congress should be going back to old filibuster rules. “It used to be you had to stand on the floor and exhaust everything you had, and when you gave up the floor, and someone else sought the floor, they had to talk until they finished. You’re only allowed to do it a second time. After that, it’s over. You vote,” he said. “I propose we bring that back now, immediately.”

“We’re going to end the filibuster”

He went on to argue, however, that eventually, even that might not be enough.

“But I also think we’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster. The idea that, for example, my Republican friends say that we’re going to default on the national debt because they’re going to filibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing ever heard,” the president said.

“I think you’re going to see if that gets pulled again — you’ll see an awful lot of Democrats being ready to say, ‘Not me. I’m not doing that again,'” Biden added, as Breitbart reported. “We’re going to end the filibuster. But it still is difficult to end the filibuster beyond that. That’s another issue.”

Senate Republicans stand strong

The issue of the filibuster is in the headlines again after Senate Republicans’ recently used it to block Dems’ so-called Freedom to Vote Act. Following a 49 to 51 vote, the legislation failed to even make it to the debate stage this week.

It’s exactly the sort of bill that Biden has indicated he would be in favor of ending the filibuster for. Democrats wrote the measure to counteract voter integrity laws recently passed in Republican states, but those in the GOP say Dems’ law would unjustly federalize the nation’s elections system. They feel so strongly, in fact, that they’ve used the filibuster to block Democrat-sponsored “voting rights” laws no less than three times so far this session.

At this point, it seems Democrats are getting antsy. After all, midterms are quickly approaching, and they’ve already had 10 months in power in Washington. What do they have to show for it?

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