Science

Biden backs filibuster reform, not elimination

Biden backs filibuster reform, not elimination”

However, it's unclear whether Biden will do anything to stop Senate Democrats from removing the filibuster as the only other way the left could pass H.R.1, which apparently is his priority is by getting 10 Republican senators to join them. But Republicans are warning Democrats off any changes.

The move was intended to prevent opposition to a single bill bringing all work in the Senate to halt, but it also meant that the filibuster changed from an energy-draining maneuver involving lengthy speeches to a mere objection, or threat to object.

Filibustering is the controversial Senate practice created to block action on a bill, first coming into existence as a means to preserve slavery in the United States. Notoriously, they were used by Southern senators who sought to block civil rights laws. Leaders sometimes just drop the issue from floor consideration.

By 1917 most senators had had enough, agreeing that a vote by a two-thirds majority could end debate.

In 1975, the Senate reduced the requirement for limiting debate to three-fifths of the Senate - now 60 senators.

As the country, and Congress, has grown more partisan, the filibuster has become a key weapon in what is often described as a procedural arms race in the Senate.

Many Democrats, anxious that the filibuster could hold up major agenda items such as voting rights and immigration reform, have pressured Democrats to use their majority to eliminate the filibuster or alter the rules. Overcoming filibusters can take days, if not weeks. "When they're in a position to advance the ball they don't care".

"Filibusters and the prospect of filibusters shape much of the way in which the Senate does its work", the CRS report said.

More news: Unconfirmed AstraZeneca concerns hampering vaccination efforts

This is, of course, a Senate rule. Democrats hold a slim majority because Vice President Kamala Harris can be a tie-breaking vote. "In fact, it's been a highly effective tool to thwart the will of the people", Senator Tina Smith wrote on Facebook after coming to support an end to the filibuster. Neither do Democratic moderate Sens. McConnell has warned of dire consequences if the Democrats rip up the rule, saying Republicans would use other parliamentary maneuvers to stall work in the chamber.

While several Democrats and advocacy groups call for ridding the Senate of the filibuster on legislation, there does not appear to be enough support from Democratic senators at this time to do so.

As debate over what to do with the filibuster rages on in the Senate, President Joe Biden in a TV interview aired Wednesday, said for the first time he backs reforming, rather than scrapping, the long-standing Senate procedure, which essentially allows the minority to block legislation.

Far from being a reason for Democratic leaders to shy away from mounting support within their caucus for filibuster reform or abolition, progressives said McConnell's threat-laced speech shows that the party is moving in the right direction and should step on the gas.

Previously, the White House had said Biden did not favor a change.

McConnell, for one. At the start of this year he tried but failed to get an explicit promise from his Democratic counterpart, Chuck Schumer, to protect the filibuster.

On Monday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin took to the floor to call for an end to what he called "legislative rock bottom".



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