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Biden Calls for Filibuster Reform to Protect Voting Rights – Mother Jones


Politics

Biden Calls for Filibuster Reform to Protect Voting Rights – Mother Jones


Patrick Semansky/AP

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In a major speech delivered on Tuesday in Atlanta, President Joe Biden officially threw his weight behind efforts to alter the Senate’s filibuster rule to pass new voting rights protections. Ever the institutionalist, Biden didn’t go so far as to advocate eliminating the filibuster altogether, instead saying that he supported a carveout for the purpose of protecting voting rights. But the speech still constituted Biden’s most significant push yet to combat Republican-backed voting restrictions in states across the country. 

“Sadly, the United States Senate…has been rendered a shell of its former self,” he said. “It gives me no satisfaction in saying that, as an institutionalist, as a man who was honored to serve in the Senate. But as an institutionalist, I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills…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.”

“When it comes to protecting majority rule in America, the majority should rule in the United States Senate.”

Biden previously defended the filibuster as a senator, and in July he said he didn’t want to get “wrapped up” in a debate over a rules change. But today he came out strongly in favor of reform, saying it was essential to prevent what he called “Jim Crow 2.0.” 

“State legislatures can pass anti-voting laws with simple majorities,” he said. “If they can do that, the United States Senate should be able to protect voting rights by a simple majority. Today, I’m making it clear: To protect our democracy, I support changing the Senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights. When it comes to protecting majority rule in America, the majority should rule in the United States Senate.”

During the day of his address, Biden took symbolic actions…



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