President Joe Biden is open to eliminating the GOP’s most powerful legislative weapon: the filibuster. Well, sort of.
At a CNN town hall Thursday night, host Anderson Cooper asked Biden, “When it comes to voting rights, just so I’m clear though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue, is that correct?”
“And maybe more,” the president responded.
Biden: "Voting rights is equally as consequential."— The Recount (@therecount) October 22, 2021
Cooper: "Voting rights, just so I'm clear, though, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue, is that correct?"
Biden: "And maybe more." pic.twitter.com/APqjpL3k59
When invoked, the Senate filibuster raises the votes needed to pass a bill from a simple majority (51) to a super majority (60). The GOP has used it to block all types of Democratic priorities, including a voting rights bill earlier this week.
Biden told Cooper that any change to the filibuster would have to wait until two signature bills – an infrastructure package and a social spending package – are passed by Congress. Eliminating the filibuster before then, Biden explained, would cost him “three votes” for his economic agenda. He did not offer any details.
In addition to voting rights, Biden singled-out raising the debt ceiling as a potential issue warranting a temporary suspension of 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 I ever heard,” Biden said.
“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” he added.
But Biden said that it would be difficult to alter the filibuster beyond the votes regarding the debt ceiling and voting rights.
Throughout his career, Biden has always shown a willingness to listen, to consider arguments from all sides in good faith, and evolve when he thought it was the right thing to do. He is showing that again on the filibuster. We still have a ways to go but this is major progress. https://t.co/UnVB7yjD8S— Adam Jentleson 🎈 (@AJentleson) October 22, 2021
The New York Times provides context:
Mr. Biden’s comments on Thursday are likely to give Democratic activists some renewed hope that he will take on the filibuster. He also said he supported the idea of bringing back a rule that would require senators to conduct a filibuster by actually speaking and automatically ending the procedure once two senators have given their speeches.