During his rambling and often incoherent “town hall” orchestrated by CNN Thursday night, Joe Biden said that he is open to ending the legislative filibuster in the Senate to cram through a federal takeover of American elections.
Anderson Cooper asked Biden if he would “entertain the notion” of ending the filibuster to pass federal election reform. “And maybe more,” Biden responded.
COOPER: "When it comes to voting rights, you would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue? Is that correct?"
BIDEN: "And maybe more." pic.twitter.com/NTeziJRQIJ
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) October 22, 2021
Biden added that killing the filibuster could put his “Build Back Better” plan in danger. He feels that pressing on the filibuster issue might anger moderate Democrats in the Senate. He needs every single Democratic vote in the evenly split Senate to pass any part of his $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation spending package.
Biden added that he believes if he pushes the Senate to change the filibuster rule, he will “lose at least three votes” on the economic and foreign policy “side of the equation.”
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have taken public positions changing to the legislative filibuster rule. The rule requires at least 60 votes to close debate on ordinary legislative bills. The budget reconciliation procedure allows bills to advance with a simple majority if related to budgetary matters.
Under the current 50-50 split in the Senate, every Democratic vote plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris will be needed to change the Senate filibuster rules.
Biden went on in the town hall to say that even though there is Democratic opposition, “we’re going to have to move” on a fundamental change to the filibuster, which could include ending it “straight up.”
He said that if Republicans use the filibuster rule to block an increase in the federal debt limit in December, even moderate Democrats might reach the point where they will agree to change the rule to move alone on increasing the current $28.8 trillion cap on borrowing.
Other than a change resulting from that sort of dispute, Biden said it is “difficult to end the filibuster beyond that.”