Joe Biden has defended Filibuster for years. Now he wants to end it for the sake of voting rights

Joe Biden seems like a staunch opponent of asking the Senate to change his age-old rules.

Biden spent 36 years and 12 days as a Senator, regularly burning for hours and sitting behind his desk in the chambers of the Senate. He has described his time as Senator from Delaware as “the best” of all he has done. Aides called him an “institutionalist” of the Senate.

But now that he is President, Biden says Republican efforts to limit Americans’ right to vote require a change in his beloved institution. “I believe the threat to our democracy is so serious that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills,” Biden said. said in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday. “Debate about them. Vote. Let the majority prevail — and if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no choice but to change the Senate rules, including removing the violation to this.” .
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For decades, Senate rules have required 60 Senators to agree to end debate and move a bill to a vote. In today’s evenly split Senate (run by Democrats because Vice President Kamala Harris acted as the breaker), Republicans were able to use filtering to block many voting rights bills that would standardize access to interstate voting. In 2021, some Democrats started calling for an amendment to the filtering rule to allow them to pass voting rights bills with a simple majority, and now Biden says he supports the plan. there.

Read more: Canceling the Filter isn’t the only way to pass suffrage legislation

Biden believes the Senate is broken and the threat of a shooting is being used to impede the elected officials’ ability to act. “What used to be a rarely used mechanism not in the Constitution has caused enormous bodily harm, and its use to defend extremist attacks on the rights of people,” said a White House official. The most fundamental part of the constitution is abhorrent,” said a White House official.

In 2005, Senator Biden was the defense of the offense. As Republicans consider suspending the judicial nomination process, Biden called it “an example of arrogance to power” and “a usurpation of power” that “will elude the Senate.” Republicans have backed down.

But a few years later, Biden’s views on the film began to turn sour. When Republican Senators invoked legislation in 2013 to defeat gun control actions legislation in the wake of the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Vice President Biden called the rule “” metamorphosis”. A few months later, Biden supported the Democrats’ decision to suspend the 60-vote threshold for judicial nominations, the same step he described eight years ago as “arrogant.” Now, the Senate has plenty of exceptions to its use of records, including judicial nominations, trade agreements, military base closures, and budget adjustments.

Biden’s conversion on this matter may be genuine, the product of Republican Efforts in State Legislatures restricts the right to vote and allows politicians to determine the outcome of elections. Biden “understands that democracy itself is being driven by this all-out assault that we’ve been witnessing by state legislatures around the country,” said Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia, told reporters ahead of Biden’s speech Tuesday. “This is a virtuous moment.”

In Atlanta, Biden challenged Republicans forced to denounce the former President Donald Trump lied that the 2020 election was stolen and take action to ensure votes are counted. “No Republican has shown the courage to stand up to a defeated president to defend America’s right to vote,” Biden said. “Not one.”

Keen observers also see political benefits in Biden’s move. “There is an extraordinary amount of energy for this among Democratic lawmakers and among Democratic activists, and I think that,” said Michael Waldman, chair of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. The president is responding to that as well.”

Democrats are betting that if they give enough attention to Republican efforts to suppress the vote, they can mobilize support to defeat that impulse and bring multiple parties Democrats come to power. Some of the Democrats running in the 2022 election are clearly running on that platform. Josh Shapiro, the current attorney general of Pennsylvania, is running for governor on a promise to “defend the right to vote” and “defeat the big lie,” according to his campaign ad.

Even with the President’s backing, Democrats still face challenges within their own party in getting voting rights bills through the Senate. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised he will change the filtering rules if Republicans don’t agree to put the voting rights law on a ballot by January 17. But Democrats need to be united. to change the procedure, and at least two of their colleagues—Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—have said they are reluctant to take that step.

Before giving a speech in Atlanta on Tuesday, Biden and Harris visited the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. preacher and Senator Warnock is senior pastor. As Biden entered the church, reporters asked if he had enough Senators on board to pass the voting legislation. Biden pulled down the mask he was wearing. “Keep the faith,” he said. Joe Biden has defended Filibuster for years. Now he wants to end it for the sake of voting rights


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