President Joe Biden delivered a sharply partisan speech this week essentially calling for the elimination of the Senate filibuster in pursuit of passing a progressive election reform agenda.
In response, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) slammed the president’s “profoundly unpresidential” remarks, the Washington Examiner reports.
“The threat to our democracy is so grave”
Of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and others in his party are anxious to pass a pair of so-called voting rights bills through Congress. Their problem lies in an evenly divided Senate.
Although Democrats could likely pass the bills by a simple majority, they do not have enough GOP support to overcome the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.
For this reason, party leaders — now including Biden — are pushing for at least a partial repeal of the filibuster.
In a speech he delivered on Tuesday, the president explained the reason for his endorsement of the idea after years of supporting the existing Senate rules.
“The threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills, debate them, vote, let the majority prevail,” he said, according to Breitbart. “And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”
“If you don’t pass the laws he wants”
Biden’s divisive speech went on to invoke segregationists and Confederate leaders as comparisons to the Republicans — and even a handful of Democrats — who still support the filibuster.
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” he asked. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?”
It was that type of rhetoric that earned a scathing rebuke from McConnell the following day. In his remarks from the Senate floor on Wednesday, the GOP leader described Biden’s “rant” as “incoherent, incorrect, and beneath his office.”
McConnell went on to tear down the president’s assertions, stating: “If you don’t pass the laws he wants, you’re Bull Connor. And if you oppose giving Democrats untrammeled, one-party control of the country, well, you’re Jefferson Davis.”
Although the Kentucky Republican acknowledged that he has “known, liked, and personally respected Joe Biden for many years,” he added that he “did not recognize the man at the podium yesterday.”