Biden says he's open to eliminating filibuster to pass voting-rights 'and maybe more' issues
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday he's open to supporting the elimination of the Senate's filibuster to pass voting-rights legislation and other bills that Republicans have blocked.
"We're going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster," Biden said during a 90-minute televised CNN town hall Thursday.
His remarks came one day after Senate Republicans, for the third time this year, used the filibuster to block voting reform legislation that seeks to overturn restrictions adopted by GOP-led state legislatures since the 2020 election.
CNN's Anderson Cooper, host of the town hall, asked the president if he would entertain the notion of getting rid of filibuster on voting rights as one possible issue.
"And maybe more," Biden said, drawing applause from the crowd.
Biden has stopped short of backing the elimination of the filibuster, which the political party not in power has used to require 60 votes to pass legislation instead of a simple majority. Biden has instead talked about bringing back the "talking filibuster," the Senate's onetime rules that required senators to talk continuously on the floor to execute a filibuster.
Biden earlier this month said it's a “real possibility” the Senate could revise its filibuster rules to raise the debt limit, which Republicans have said Democrats would have to pass alone.
Civil rights leaders and progressive activists have increasingly pushed Biden and Senate Democrats to get behind overhauling the filibuster to pass federal voting-rights legislation to counter the wave of Republican-led state-level voting restrictions. But two moderate Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have said they oppose filibuster changes.
Biden, however, gave one major reason Thursday why he might ultimately refrain from getting behind blowing up the filibuster.
The president said if he supports a carve-out of the filibuster for voting-rights legislation, he would lose "three votes right now" for his multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better package that he's negotiating with Senate Democrats. Biden is seeking to pass the plan through a legislative process called budget reconciliation, which would require support from all 50 senators to pass the evenly split Senate.
Reach Joey Garrison @joeygarrison.