Even as many in his party hope to eliminate the Senate filibuster, President Joe Biden revealed a surprising take on the subject in remarks this week.
According to the Washington Examiner, the president indicated that he is against eliminating the maneuver that allows the minority party to influence the legislative process.
“Relic of Jim Crow”
During a town hall event hosted by CNN on Wednesday, host Don Lemon asked Biden whether protecting the filibuster is “more important than protecting voting rights,” referencing an election reform bill currently being championed by Democratic leaders.
“No, it’s not,” the president replied, going on to signal his belief that the filibuster should remain in place.
Biden shied away from specifics, declaring that he did not want to “get wrapped up” in the debate and even agreeing with Lemon that the procedural tool is a “relic of Jim Crow.”
The host followed up by asking why Biden would be in favor of maintaining a maneuver with admittedly racist roots.
“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done,” Biden replied. “Nothing at all will get done.”
“A quest to save our democracy”
Thus far, the filibuster has stood in the way of the so-called “For the People Act” and other partisan bills proposed by Democrats in the evenly split chamber.
When the minority party uses the tool, it essentially requires a measure to receive 60 votes to pass, rather than the simple majority of 51 votes, which a united Democratic Party would have with Vice President Kamala Harris representing the tie-breaking vote.
Since Democrats have failed to attract the support of 10 Republicans on major pieces of legislation, many in the party are now pushing to end the filibuster.
For her part, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) claims that the effort amounts to “literally a quest to save our democracy.”
Of course, a number of generally moderate Democrats have joined Biden in expressing support for keeping the filibuster intact. It remains to be seen where the president will ultimately land on this hot-button issue, but he seems to favor old-fashioned bipartisan compromise — at least for now.