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Fri Jan 22, 2021, 03:58 PM

Biden remains opposed to eliminating filibuster, press secretary says

Washington Post
By John Wagner

President Biden remains opposed to eliminating the filibuster for legislation in the Senate, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news briefing Friday.

The issue has come to the fore during negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over organizing the chamber, which is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

McConnell is insisting that Democrats commit to keeping the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to move forward on most legislation.

“His position hasn’t changed,” Psaki said of Biden, a former senator from Delaware. “He opposes overturning a legislative filibuster. He has spoken to this many times. His position has not changed.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/22/president-joe-biden-live-updates/

9 replies, 860 views

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:02 PM

1. Hopefully that will change when he realizes just how recalcitrant turtle and the gop are to

his agenda

Nothing will get done

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:04 PM

2. Biden doesn't get to vote on it...

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:05 PM

3. I really hope that he's taking this position just to let the process play out.

I honestly think that McConnell is trying to force the Democrats to eliminate the filibuster by leaving them no other choice. But if it comes down to a choice of either eliminating the filibuster, or having Biden's entire agenda frozen, I really don't think there's actually a choice to be made at all.

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Response to Bleacher Creature (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:13 PM

4. I think it's the other way around...

from the excerpt above

McConnell is insisting that Democrats commit to keeping the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to move forward on most legislation.

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Response to stillcool (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:22 PM

5. Right, but I think he's taking such a strident position to leave Dem Senators with no other choice.

If he's not willing to back down, either Senate Democrats kill the filibuster, or Biden gets literally nothing through Congress. If McConnell truly cared about protecting the rights of the minority, he'd be willing to meet Schumer somewhere in the middle.

I think he wants Democrats to kill it so that he doesn't have to do it if/when the GOP next holds the majority.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:32 PM

6. Here we go again!!

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:41 PM

7. Hopefully, Senate Dems will make up their own minds about this. The filibuster really needs to go.

Excellent article explaining the origin of the filibuster - it has always been tied to the former slaveholding states and opposition to civil rights legislation:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/20/opinion/democrats-filibuster-congress-mcconnell.html

Opinion: Joe Biden May Have Only Two Years to Get Things Done
Democrats must kill the filibuster and make the Senate great again.

By Adam Jentleson
Mr. Jentleson is the author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.”

Jan. 20, 2021

-snip-

The supermajority threshold of today flies in the face of the framers’ intent. They wanted the Senate to be a place where debate was thorough and thoughtful, but limited, and where bills passed or failed on majority votes when it became clear to reasonable minds that debate was exhausted. Originally, Senate rules included a provision allowing a majority to end debate, and an early manual written by Thomas Jefferson established procedures for silencing senators who debated “superfluous, or tediously.” Obstruction was considered beneath them.

The reason the framers set the threshold at a majority is that they wrote the Constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation, which they saw as a disaster because it required a supermajority of Congress to pass most major legislation. As Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 22, the idea that a supermajority encouraged cooperation had proven deceptive: “What at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison.” Rather than encourage cooperation, he prophesied, the effect of requiring “more than a majority” would be “to embarrass the administration, to destroy the energy of the government, and to substitute the pleasure, caprice or artifices” of a minority to the “regular deliberations and decisions of a respectable majority.”

-snip-

The filibuster did not emerge until after the framers died. Its leading innovator was the South Carolinian John C. Calhoun. Seeking to protect slave owners against abolitionism, Calhoun envisioned a Senate where this powerful pro-slavery minority would have not just the voice Madison intended but a veto — or as he put it, “a negative on the others.”

-snip-

The supermajority threshold now associated with the filibuster emerged in the Jim Crow era, when Southern senators used it to stop civil rights (and only civil rights) legislation. In 1917, the Senate created Rule 22 to “terminate successful filibustering,” giving a supermajority (today 60 senators) the ability to bring closure (or “cloture”) to a filibuster. Majority-rule votes remained the norm for all other legislation, but filibustering Southerners made this step of cloture — and its supermajority threshold — the standard for the dozen or so civil rights bills that passed the House and came before the Senate. So although Rule 22 was enacted to bring some constraint to filibusters, it ended up being wielded by Southerners as an effective veto of civil rights legislation.

-snip-

(final paragraph) In his memoir “A Promised Land,” Mr. Obama chronicles his regret that he “hadn’t had the foresight” to rally Senate Democrats to “to revise the chamber rules and get rid of the filibuster once and for all.” (my bold) Because of his long Senate service, Mr. Biden has unique credibility to lead a successful push for reform. We can’t afford for the Senate to remain the place where good ideas go to die. We need to make the Senate great again.

I highly recommend this article - if you have a subscription, please go read the whole thing.

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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:48 PM

8. One of Obama's regrets is that he didn't encourage Dems to get rid of the filibuster:

From this NYT opinion piece by Adam Jentleson, the author of “Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy.” :

In his memoir “A Promised Land,” Mr. Obama chronicles his regret that he “hadn’t had the foresight” to rally Senate Democrats to “to revise the chamber rules and get rid of the filibuster once and for all.” Because of his long Senate service, Mr. Biden has unique credibility to lead a successful push for reform. We can’t afford for the Senate to remain the place where good ideas go to die. We need to make the Senate great again.


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Response to Wicked Blue (Original post)

Fri Jan 22, 2021, 04:52 PM

9. I imagine McConnell will change President Biden's mind relatively soon, unless McConnell submits

to Majority Leader Schumer's will, and becomes his obedient poodle.

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