Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand admitted Thursday that “there are grave risks associated with eliminating the filibuster” in the Senate.
Gillibrand explained to guest-host Alex Wagner on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” that she still supports removing the filibuster from Senate rules, despite the move creating a “grave risk” when Democrats no longer hold the majority. (RELATED: Sen. Raphael Warnock Preaches To The Masses: ‘We’ve Got To Save Our Republican Sisters And Brothers From Themselves’)
Wagner began by playing a clip of President Joe Biden answering questions from CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins on his position regarding the filibuster. In the video, Biden took a long pause before saying he wanted to significantly change “abuse” of the filibuster rule, but wouldn’t go any further when Collins pressed him on actually getting rid of the rule.
“What is the mood inside the Democratic caucus? What is the appetite for a more limited restriction, the talking filibuster, or only using the filibuster in certain situations?” Wagner asked after the clip ended.
Gillibrand said she thinks the Democratic caucus in the Senate will “wrestle” with the issue but wanted everyone to understand that “there are great risks associated with eliminating the filibuster.” She explained when Democrats “are in the minority, which inevitably does happen,” issues they care about most “will be harmed.”
“I think there’s many people, like President Biden, who want to think it through, who want to understand the risks,” she continued, before saying, “I support eliminating the filibuster because I have done the analysis. I’ve weighed the risks. I know that the things I care very deeply about will be at grave risk when we are the minority, but I also know we have urgent crises right now in this country that we are obligated to address now.” Gillibrand said securing voting rights for the country and addressing gun violence are among the “urgent crises.”
“If the only way that we get votes on these basic human rights-related issues, is by abolishing arcane procedure that was not in the constitution in the first place, we should do that, but it may take time for us to work through all the risks, all the concerns, and talk through it with our colleagues, ” she said.
Many Democrats have been pushing to eliminate the filibuster in order to enact some of their policy priorities. Republicans have been staunch defenders of the rule and have opposed efforts to do away with it. Democrats are hardly united on the issue with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema declaring their support for keeping the filibuster intact.