President Joe Biden is defending the Senate’s legislative filibuster, which he argues is keeping Congress from devolving into “chaos,” despite previously saying he believes it is a “relic of the Jim Crow era.”
During a town hall event hosted by CNN on Wednesday, Biden decried what he called the “abuse of the filibuster.” The network’s Don Lemon asked the president if he thought defending the filibuster was “more important than protecting voting rights.”
“No, it’s not,” Biden answered as he said he wants Congress to pass two sweeping voting rights bills. “But here’s the deal, what I also want to do, I want to make sure we bring along not just all the Democrats. We bring along Republicans who I know, know better.”
He continued, “I’m trying to bring the country together. And I don’t want the debate to only be about whether or not we have a filibuster or exceptions to the filibuster or going back to the way the filibuster had to be used before.”
Watch the video below:
During a Wedneday night CNN town hall in Cincinnati, President Biden said that scrapping the filibuster would “throw the entire Congress into chaos” and that “nothing at all will get done.” https://t.co/TU68in6g7X pic.twitter.com/OW5IAtiTHV
— POLITICO (@politico) July 22, 2021
Lemon pushed back, “You agree with [former President Barack Obama]…that it’s a relic of Jim Crow. If it’s a relic of Jim Crow, it’s been used to fight against civil rights legislation historically, why protect it?”
“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos, and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done. And there’s a lot at stake. The most important one is the right to vote,” Biden responded.
The filibuster is a legislative hurdle in the Senate used to delay or block legislation. It requires 60 votes to overcome, which means that most legislation needs at least 60 votes to pass the chamber.
The Senate is currently evenly divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.
Earlier this year, Senate Republicans blocked the sweeping For the People Act voting rights bill and a committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by denying Democrats the 60 votes they need to pass legislation.
During the first press conference of his presidency, Biden said he agreed with Obama that the filibuster is “a relic of the Jim Crow era.”
Progressives have increasingly called for the abolition of the filibuster after Republicans blocked the For the People Act.
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