White House says Democrats could review filibuster rules if voting rights bill fails

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is holding a White House press briefing on Monday. Journalists asked about the administration’s next steps on voting rights. Image: Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

On Monday, the White House opened the door to a re-examination of the filibuster – a very controversial issue across political lines – paving the way for a bitter struggle in Congress to eliminate the controversial debate tactic.

Responding to a question on Tuesday’s Senate debate on voting rights legislation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “As for the filibuster, I don’t think so. whether you have to take it away from us, it would be Congress moving forward – or making a decision. If the vote fails tomorrow, we think it will spark a new conversation about the way forward. And we’ll see where that leads. “

Filing is a long-standing Senate practice used to delay passage of a bill – a tactic that has gained momentum over the past 10 years. It has only been used once so far this session, to block a vote on a bipartisan committee on January 6.

The right to vote bill in the center

Senate Democrats will begin debate on Tuesday in a bid to fundamentally revise current election laws. The proposal is called the Law for the People.

The bill comes as nationally Republican-led states seek to implement a number of restrictive voting measures that could dramatically reduce the ability of minorities and low-income Americans to vote. Republicans defend these measures as necessary to safeguard the security of the US election.

After President Biden’s presidential victory in 2020, Republicans, at the behest of former President Donald Trump, launched a smear campaign, falsely alleging that voting irregularities were the cause of their White House defeat.

For the party to be successful in pushing forward a voting rights bill, Democrats would have to vote en bloc to support the measure and gain the support of 10 Senate Republicans. Some Democrats and outside advocates say without the likely support of GOP senators, Democratic leaders would have to change Senate rules – get rid of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to end debate.

Party moderates – West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema – opposed both measures, leading to significant internal bickering between Democrats over next steps.

Where is Biden

Biden himself, a former senator, approved in March change the obstruction to “what it was,” forcing senators to physically speak up and talk incessantly in order to delay a vote.

Despite the common misconceptionAs it stands, a Senate staff member can send an email recording a senator’s objection and triggering a 60-vote requirement to advance a bill to a final ascending or descending vote – without having to make a speech or any other effort.

Minority Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has warned of a logistical nightmare if those rules were to change and lawmakers had to be constantly physically present on Capitol Hill Further, he said that when the Republicans regain majority control of the chamber, “we would not just erase all the liberal changes that are hurting the country. We would be strengthening America with all kinds of conservative policies without any input from the world. ‘other side.”

Even with Biden’s co-signature, Democrats were unable to reach unanimous agreement on either voting rights reform or filibuster.

Vice President Harris has been asked to lead the administration’s voting rights strategy, but so far he has not taken concrete action on the issue.

Obama’s argument

President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president and who remains a popular figure among Democrats, on Monday expressed support for the overhaul of the filibuster during a conference call with voting rights activists and former Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Unfortunately, right now at least, Republicans in the Senate are lining up to try and use filibuster to prevent even debate on the For the People Act,” Obama said.

“Think about this: in the aftermath of an insurgency, with our democracy at stake, and many of those same Republican senators accepting the idea that there were somehow some irregularities and problems of legitimacy in our last election – they are suddenly afraid to even talk about these problems and find solutions on the Senate floor. They don’t even want to talk about voting, ”he said, referring to January 6. insurrection at the United States Capitol.

“It’s not acceptable.”

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