Posts tagged with "Filibuster"

Biden is open to scrapping filibuster for voting rights bill—‘and maybe more’

October 25, 2021

President Joe Biden said on Thursday, October 21, that he was open to ending the Senate filibuster in order to enable Democrats to pass voting rights legislation, raise the federal debt limit, and possibly enact other parts of his agenda that have been blocked by Republicans, The New York Times reports.

However, addressing a CNN town hall meeting that night, the president said that ending the filibuster—a Senate tradition that allows the minority party to kill legislation that fails to garner 60 votes—would have to wait until after he secured passage of his spending bills, which are under negotiation on Capitol Hill.

 The president said he would lose “at least three votes” on his social policy bill if he pushed an end to the filibuster. He did not say which senators he would lose.

Biden was blunt about his intentions once the debate over the spending bills was over, according to the Times. He said the need to pass sweeping voting rights legislation favored by Democrats is “equally as consequential” as the debt limit vote, which protects the full faith and credit of the United States.

Asked by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, the host of the event, whether that meant he would be open to ending the use of the filibuster so that Democrats could pass a voting rights bill, Biden said, “and maybe more.”

The president said that activists who are pushing to end the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation “make a very good point,” adding, “We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster.”

Liberal activists have grown increasingly frustrated with Biden over the past several months as Republicans used the filibuster to prevent action on major parts of the Democratic agenda. They have accused the president and his allies in Congress of being too passive by refusing to change the rules.

On Wednesday, October 20, Republicans blocked action on legislation to bolster voting rights for the third time since Biden took office. All 50 Democrats and independents supported bringing the Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) to the floor, but all 50 Republicans voted against doing so—thwarting legislation that Democrats say would counter efforts in Republican-controlled states to impose new voting restrictions.

Some Democrats have urged the president to push for modifications to the filibuster so that he can pass an immigration overhaul, address prison reform, and enact more ambitious climate change legislation. If the filibuster remains intact, they argue, Biden will leave office with half his priorities unmet.

“Black and Brown voters are tired of the same scene playing out over and over,” Stephany R. Spaulding, a spokeswoman for Just Democracy, said in a statement last week. “We launch herculean mobilizations to get Democrats elected. Democrats bring legislation to the floor that would benefit communities of color, and Republicans won’t even engage in a good-faith debate.”

“Senate Democrats can no longer divorce the filibuster from the promises and issues they ran on,” she added. “They must act with urgency to get rid of the filibuster.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Democrat calls Manchin a ‘new Mitch McConnell,’ who is working to thwart Biden’s agenda

June 8, 2021

On July 7, New York Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman compared fellow Democrat Senator Joe  of West Virginia to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky—and said that Manchin is attempting to obstruct President Joe Biden’s agenda, based on his recent decisions to vote against a sweeping voting rights bill and to retain the filibuster, CNN reported.

“Joe Manchin has become the new Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell during Obama’s presidency said he would do everything in his power to stop (then-President Barack Obama),” Bowman told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.” “He’s also repeated that now during the Biden presidency by saying he would do everything in his power to stop President Biden, and now Joe Manchin is doing everything in his power to stop democracy and to stop our work for the people, the work that the people sent us here to do.”

Bowman continued, “Manchin is not pushing us closer to bipartisanship. He is doing the work of the Republican Party by being an obstructionist, just like they’ve been since the beginning of Biden’s presidency.”

Bowman’s scathing criticism of his fellow Democrat is an outward s—has become a roadblock for some of Biden’s agenda.

On Sunday, Manchin defended his decision to vote against a sweeping voting rights bill called the For the People Act, writing in an op-ed published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that “partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.”

What’s more, CNN notes, for months, Manchin has remained a key holdup to the voting rights bill and he is the only Democratic senator not listed as a co-sponsor on the legislation.

He also asserted that “the fundamental right to vote has, itself, become overtly politicized,” and—taking aim at members of his party—said some Democrats have “attempted to demonize the filibuster and conveniently ignore how it has been critical to protecting the rights of Democrats in the past.”

In the past, Manchin has argued that Democrats who want to abolish the filibuster should be careful what they wish for, noting then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s move in 2013 to remove the 60-vote filibuster standard for most presidential nominees was later cited by Republicans to lift the rule for Supreme Court justices, which eventually led to a conservative majority on the high court.

Research contact: @CNN

As GOP moves to cut coverage of pre-existing conditions, its candidates say the opposite

October 25, 2018

Republicans candidates are feverishly back-pedaling on their plundering of Obamacare—and are regretting filing lawsuits to relieve insurers of their responsibility to cover pre-existing conditions, according to a report by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC on October 23.

A poll released on October 18 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that fully 71% of U.S. voters say healthcare is the most important issue driving them to the polls in the midterm elections. That’s good for Democrats who are running, but bad for the GOP, Maddow said.

But that’s not stopping Republican candidates—and the president—from misrepresenting their true positions, the cable news anchor said.

In fact, Maddow identified five candidates who, she said, are lying about their overall support for healthcare—and their antipathy toward coverage of pre-existing conditions.

Among those whom Maddow said had voted against the Affordable Care Act, but who now say they support it are Representative Martha McSally (R-2nd District-Arizona); Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas); Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada); Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-48th District-California); and Representative Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota).

In particular, Senator Ted Cruz once spoke for more than 21 hours about his opposition to Obamacare, including a dramatic reading of the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs and Ham” on the Senate floor, The Washington Post reminded readers on October 25. The speech was styled as a filibuster, but was not actually one — no vote was being delayed; Cruz was just making a memorable stink about how much he did not like Obamacare.

President Donald Trump also is prevaricating about his true position: “Republicans will always protect people with pre-existing conditions,” Trump said at a rally on October 23 in support of Senator Dean Heller in Nevada.

However, Maddow’s Producer Steve Benen wrote on her blog on October 24, “In reality, Republicans continue to fight to gut the ACA’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and a total number of zero Democratic officials “have been talking about” scaling back the existing Obamacare safeguards”(although the GOP claims they are).

“This is not a fight in which a complex truth lurks in some gray area in between partisan talking points. Republicans have not only fought for years to strip Americans with pre-existing conditions of their protections; they’re also–right now – trying to get the courts to gut these protections, too,” Benen wrote.

He noted, “If the midterm elections are going to be about which party is sincere about championing protections for those with pre-existing conditions, Republicans are likely to have a rough year.”

Research contact: @stevebenen

Pompeo clears committee, with a surprise reversal by Senator Paul

April 24, 2018

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was officially short of the votes needed to clear the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week, according to a poll of the 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats on the panel by The Hill. And then, in a last-minute reversal of fortune, GOP Senator Rand Paul (Kentucky), who had opposed the nomination, dropped his objections to the nomination in a series of tweets late on April 23.

Pompeo’s confirmation vote follows the removal of Rex Tillerson from the Secretary of State post in mid-March by President Donald Trump.

Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) became the last Democrat on the committee to announce his opposition, saying that “after careful consideration” he would block Pompeo’s nomination to head the U.S. State Department.

“I remain concerned that Director Pompeo will not challenge the president in critical moments,” Coons averred in a statement reported by The Hill.

“On vital decisions facing our country, Director Pompeo seems less concerned with rule of law and partnership with our allies, and more inclined to emphasize unilateral action and the use of force,” he added.

Had Senator Paul not dropped his objections, this would have been the first time in almost a century that a Secretary of State nomination had not been approved in committee.

Research contact: @jordainc

Editor’s note: This story was revised at 9:30 a.m. on April 24.