President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s open to getting rid of the filibuster on the issue of voting rights “and maybe more.”
The president, speaking at a CNN town hall, was asked about the filibuster by moderator Anderson Cooper. Biden began by suggesting he wouldn’t discuss the issue because getting into such a “debate” would immediately cost him “at least three votes” regarding his economic and foreign policy plans. Biden has been focused on getting his Build Back Better Agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed.
Biden then said he would support re-installing a requirement “immediately” that would make lawmakers hold the floor for a filibuster.
“But I also think we’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” the president added. “The idea that, for example, my Republican friends say that we’re going to default on the national debt because they’re going to filibuster that, and we need ten Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing ever heard. I think you’re going to see – if it gets pulled again you’ll see an awful lot of Democrats being ready to say ‘not me. I’m not doing that again. We’re going to end the filibuster.’ But it still is difficult to end the filibuster beyond that. That’s another issue.”
“But are you saying once you get this current agenda passed on spending and social programs, that you would be open to fundamentally altering the filibuster or doing away with it?” Cooper pressed. (RELATED: ‘Let Me Finish My Answer’: Don Lemon Turns Biden Town Hall Into Debate Over The Filibuster)
Biden said it “remains to be seen exactly what that means in terms of fundamentally altering it” and noted that there are “certain things that are just sacred rights.” When pressed on whether voting rights would be enough for Biden to be willing to do away with the filibuster, the president confirmed it would be.
“And maybe more,” Biden added.
Biden’s comments are largely symbolic, as the president doesn’t have a vote on the issue, but it’s still important. Progressives have pushed Biden to back abolishing the filibuster and Republicans have used the move to block legislation backed by the Democratic party in 2021.