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Biden Is Now Taking Aim At Ending The Filibuster


President Biden told ABC News Tuesday he supports reforming the Senate's filibuster rule to require lawmakers to talk on the Senate floor to delay a bill’s passage.

Why it matters: It's the first time the president has publicly supported action on the rule after the White House maintained for several weeks that he opposed eliminating the filibuster altogether.

Context: Progressives have pressured Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to do away with the chamber's long-standing 60-vote threshold to pass major legislation on issues including climate change and voting rights.

  • Eliminating the filibuster would significantly limit the minority party's power, which uses the procedural rule to delay or block legislative action it opposes.

What they're saying: Asked if he would ultimately have to choose between preserving the filibuster and advancing his administration's agenda, Biden said: "I don't think that you have to eliminate the filibuster — you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days."

  • "You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking," Biden said, adding that he would support making that a requirement.
  • "That's what it was supposed to be. It's getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning,"

The big picture: Biden is advocating for the same reform as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who told "Axios on HBO" that he supports "a little bit of pain" for senators who want to filibuster and opposes a simple majority in the chamber.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) again warned Democrats on Tuesday that eliminating the legislative filibuster would "break the Senate" and turn the chamber into a "100-car pileup" where chaos reigns.

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