Senate Democrats are clearly sick and tired of Republicans using the filibuster to obstruct legislation that Americans overwhelmingly need and support, and now Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has added his voice to those seeking to end it.
Senator Elizabeth Warren recently hinted that Senate Democrats are close to doing something about the filibuster, which requires 60 votes on any legislation that cannot be passed through reconciliation. That means the GOP, as the minority party, is basically in control despite Democrats holding a slim majority.
Without reconciliation, Republicans would have gleefully used the filibuster to block passage of the American Rescue Plan, which is now helping millions of Americans and small businesses.
In order to pass legislation to protect voting rights, prevent or slow climate change, and raise the minimum wage, Senate Democrats must kill the filibuster or else they face nothing but obstruction for at least the next two years and loss of the Senate in 2022 as Republicans will absolutely blame Democrats for nothing getting done.
In a shift against the filibuster, Durbin took to the Senate floor to urge immediate change.
“Today, nearly 65 years after Strom Thurmond’s marathon defense of Jim Crow, the filibuster is still making a mockery of American democracy,” Durbin, said. “The filibuster is still being misused by some senators to block legislation urgently needed and supported by strong majorities of the American people. This is what hitting legislative rock bottom looks like. Today’s filibusters have turned the world’s most deliberative body into one of the world’s most ineffectual bodies.”
Indeed, any senator can simply phone-in a filibuster and bring Senate business to a complete halt, whereas a senator used to have to stand on the floor and talk as long as possible until they ran out of steam. It’s a racist tool that conservatives have used for decades to hold America back.
“I have been long open to changing the Senate’s rules to restore the ‘standing filibuster,'” Durbin continued. “If a senator insists on blocking the will of the Senate. No more phoning it in. It’s time to change the Senate rules and stop holding this Senate hostage. We cannot allow continued misuse of arcane rules to block the will of the American people. I urge my colleagues to defend American democracy by making the changes needed.”
Here’s the video via YouTube:
Killing the filibuster would put significant pressure on Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), both of whom have expressed opposition to getting rid of it. Obviously, they don’t want to be seen as the senators who are standing in the way of real progress. Maintaining the filibuster, therefore, lets them off the hook from having to make decisions because they can blame Republicans whenever a bill doesn’t get 60 votes. It’s time for both of them to have to accept responsibility. They are either Democrats, or they are Republicans masquerading as Democrats. Killing the filibuster puts all the pressure on them, and their voters actually support the bills Democrats want to pass.
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