Tonight, President Joe Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he supports bringing back the talking filibuster. This is the first time Pres. Biden has expressed openness to reforming the archaic Senate rule.
Today on the floor of the Senate, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin offered a stinging rebuke of the modern filibuster. In his remarks, Sen. Durbin detailed the racist history of the filibuster and called the arcane rule “the death grip of democracy” and blamed it for turning “the world’s greatest deliberative body into one of the world’s most ineffectual bodies.”
This was a pivotal week, said Adam Jentleson, a former Senate Democratic leadership aide and author of the book “Kill Switch,” which argues that the filibuster is crippling American democracy. “Manchin’s comments were certainly encouraging, but the most important thing may be the fact that zero Republicans voted for the American Rescue Plan. I think that drives home the need for reform more than anything else.”
“You can make it more difficult to pass a bill than it has ever been before. And you can do so with near total anonymity,” says Adam Jentleson
Today, Battle Born Collective, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement, United We Dream, and New Deal Strategies put out the following statement in response to news that President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan into law:
Today, following the AFL-CIO’s announcement of their support for filibuster reform, Tré Easton, Senior Advisor at Battle Born Collective, released the following statement:
“There’s sort of two parts to the filibuster,” Adam Jentleson, author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy, tells The New Republic. “There’s the talking part in the Jimmy Stewart style, and then there’s the supermajority threshold. And they used to be separate.”
But Senate experts say they interpreted Manchin’s comments as evidence that he was moving in the direction of filibuster reform. “From where I sit, it’s a very positive development,” tweeted Adam Jentleson, a former aide to onetime Sen. Harry Reid and author of a new book, Kill Switch, about the modern Senate and how to fix it.
Tré Easton, a former Senate staffer now working with the progressive group Battle Born Collective, said: “After we get past this Covid relief package, there is just a litany of things that have to get done . . . and the biggest impediment to that is going to be the filibuster.”
“One of the biggest lessons that Republicans learned in the ’09 and ’10 era is they could basically obstruct everything and not suffer at the ballot box,” said Tre Easton, a senior adviser at the liberal Battle Born Collective.
“It demonstrates that Biden’s victory is, at most, a reprieve from the threat of minority rule by white conservatives. Short of urgent action by Democrats, Republicans will take back power despite representing a minority of voters.”
“Pressure point: Biden is getting some pressure on the left. A number of groups — including Adam Jentleson and Rebecca Kirszner Katz’s Battle Born Collective and Justice Democrats — are saying Biden is not moving fast enough to enact his agenda through Congress.”