Saturday, August 1, 2020

Scrapping Filibuster Likely If Democrats Win Senate Majority, Opening Up Liberal Agenda

Democrats say they've finally exhausted all their patience: It's time for the filibuster to go.
For years, both parties have threatened to get rid of the Senate rule, which allows the minority party to delay or block a vote on a legislative measure by speaking for an indefinite amount of time on the floor. But a growing chorus from Democrats signals that the complaints about the filibuster this time around are different and that the party is serious about getting rid of it altogether.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama called the tactic "another Jim Crow relic" and said that Democrats should end the practice should they take the Senate and presidency in November in order to pass dramatic electoral reform like automatic voter registration and restoring voting rights for felons out of prison.
Obama's rhetoric echoed comments made by longtime Joe Biden confidante Sen. Chris Coons in late June when he said he would "not stand idly by for four years and watch the Biden administration's initiatives blocked at every turn." The Delaware lawmaker added that "what's left of structural guardrails," meaning the remaining filibuster rules, which have been slowly chipped away at over the past decade by both parties, would need to be removed to tackle the "mess at home and abroad."
Nearly a month later, Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said that "nothing is off the table" in terms of Senate reforms should his party regain a majority after the election.
Although Obama said removing minority protections in the Senate should be used for expanded voting rights, it's clear that Democrats have much more ambitious plans. Even Biden, who as recently as January defended the filibuster and said his administration could "reach consensus" with Republicans on certain issues, has changed his tune.
“It’s going to depend on how obstreperous [Republicans in the Senate] become,” Biden said earlier this month when asked about the topic. "I think you're going to just have to take a look at [the filibuster]."
And for a presidential candidate who promises to unleash "the most progressive agenda since FDR," in the words of former rival and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, getting Republicans in the Senate on board with any of Biden's policy proposals may prove impossible. Despite his general vagueness on the campaign trail, both Biden's campaign website and the Democratic National Committee's new platform outlines myriad new programs and plans that virtually no Republican would sign onto.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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