Stacey Abrams Urges Lifting Filibuster for Election Reform Bill

Stacey Abrams, an influential figure in Democratic circles, called on Sunday for the U.S. Senate to exempt election reform legislation passed by the House of Representatives over Republican opposition from a procedural hurdle called the filibuster.

“Protection of democracy is so fundamental that it should be exempt from the filibuster rules,” Abrams, a former senior state legislator and gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who helped Democrats win two U.S. Senate runoff elections in her home state in January, told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

The Democratic-led House on March 3 passed a bill intended to reform voting procedures, increase voter participation and require states to assign independent commissions the task of redrawing congressional districts to guard against partisan manipulation.

There is a debate among Democrats, who narrowly control the Senate thanks to the two Georgia victories, on whether to modify or even eliminate the filibuster, a longstanding fixture of the Senate that makes it so most legislation cannot advance without 60 votes in the 100-seat chamber rather than a simple majority.

The filibuster already has been scaled back and does not apply to judicial or Cabinet appointments and some budgetary measures, Abrams noted, so it should be suspended for the voting rights legislation. Abrams, a former minority leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, has emerged as a leading Democratic voice on voting rights.

Democratic President Joe Biden has said he would sign the election legislation into law if it is passed by Congress, but also has indicated opposition to completely eliminating the filibuster.

The House-passed bill faces long odds in the Senate under current rules, where all 48 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with them would need to be joined by 10 of the 50 Republican senators to overcome a filibuster.

Democrats have argued that the legislation is necessary to lower barriers to voting and to make the U.S. political system more democratic and responsive to the needs of voters. Republicans have said it would take powers away from the states.

There was record turnout in the 2020 election, helped by mail-in ballots heavily used by Democratic voters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Democrats have accused Republicans at the state level of pursuing voter suppression laws for partisan advantage. Former President Donald Trump made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him though widespread voting fraud and irregularities. Since then, Republicans have introduced measures in numerous state legislatures that would limit voting access.

A bill passed by the Republican-controlled Georgia House this month, for example, would restrict ballot drop boxes, tighten absentee voting requirements and limit early voting on Sundays, curtailing traditional “Souls to the Polls” voter turnout programs in Black churches.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Heather Timmons and Will Dunham)

Responses

  1. Has this women ever seen a food she doesn’t gulp down, an orthodontist, or a cheap, clinging jersey dress she doesn’t like??.
    Too mean?

  2. And so what happens to voter rights when conservatives lead the house and senate if there’s nothing to stop them from restricting again?

    Removal of the filibuster – for anything- is such short thinking. It’s great when you’re in power, but when you are not it leaves you with no hope it haulting bad policy.

    1. I could care less. DC stinks. When in Washington, there is only 1 party. Maybe the folks should wake up.

      1. Mac, I’m not following you. There isn’t one party. There’s two primary parties that agree on very little, then both parties have their far left/right subsets that agree on near nothing.

        Even that is an over simplification so what are you talking about?

        1. Mac is more correct than you or Phoenix are, Phyllis.

          Washington is so corrupt that there is only the Donor Party which has two departments that have a few social differences, and the sooner that you acknowledge this fact, the sooner you can help to clean up our politics. The big money has made the Democratic Party so conservative that their policies and actions are to the right of Ronald Regan.

          The Democratic leadership, including especially Joke Biden, didn’t even bother to fight for one of the primary policy planks that got them elected – a $15 minimum wage. You need to ask yourselves WHY, and don’t bother mentioning someone called the Parliamentarian because that was just a convenient excuse, it wasn’t the real reason.

          As for the filibuster, I have changed my mind about keeping it, after realizing that the American Fascist Party won’t change anyway after it is gone. They don’t really have any policy goals that they haven’t already gotten in the last few decades. All they really want is lower taxes for their corporate donors and themselves, and they want a justice system that legally backs them up. Corporations have next to zero taxes to pay now as it is and they have a corporate-backing justice system now, so what’s missing? The AFP has not other real goals. If the Democrats are going to get anything meaningful done, at all, to get back on the left side of the political balance, they must get rid of the filibuster or else they are toast in 2022 and 2024.

          1. That comment was meant for Phoenix not confused. Wake up common sense folks. Trump exposed the stink. The commie press is complicit as usual. Trump botched by not including all americans. The rally’s, the virus, the personal attacks, defeated himself. The Dems have nothing to offer the folks

          2. “Trump exposed the stink.” Mac

            No, he didn’t. He expanded corruption (corruption IS the swamp) and made it far worse.

            “Trump botched by not including all americans.” Mac

            When did President Who? EVER show interest in ALL Americans? When? How? Those are rhetorical questions because he didn’t.

            “The Dems have nothing to offer the folks” Mac

            What has the old Republican Party or the American Fascist Party offered us? That is a serious question. They have so little to offer that they are trying to keep millions of us from voting, for them to keep on winning, so whatever they have can’t be much.

        2. You are a twit. It is all show. All about dividing folks on party line. I have seen this for over 50 yrs

          1. You and General are upset because the policies you want aren’t able to pass with how the government works.

            But the government was always set up to temper itself. Its why there’s three branches of government, its why there’s a house vs senate, its why there’s an electoral college, etc… things are set up to ensure policy that is passed is more centered and there’s no major ability for mob rule without checks throughout.

            It’s not a perfect system in any way, but things would be insanely worse without these checks.

            The filibuster is one of those checks. General doesn’t care if its gone because he is not in a group whose rights will be stripped once conservatives are in power with no way of stopping them. It’s easy to make sacrifices when you have no skin in the game when the pendulum swings.

          2. “You and General are upset because the policies you want aren’t able to pass with how the government works.” Phoenix

            No, that is not what upsets me. What gets my gall is corruption, and progressives who won’t fight hard for their clearly stated policy goals. So much so that I have decided to run for an upcoming city council seat. I will get to see the corruption first hand.

          3. Ok, explain how filibuster increases corruption? And for once try not to tangent because the topic of this article IS the filibuster.

          4. “Ok, explain how filibuster increases corruption?” Phoenix

            [Groan. I give up.] Obviously, Phoenix, I didn’t say that it did.

    2. The far-right and the far-left have many things in common—REFUSAL to consider the consequences of actions is just one.

      1. The Democrats (pretty much all of them) either refuse to consider or are too dumb to consider the unintended consequences of their choices. Maybe because their main quest is just getting into power.
        Think about the $15 minimum wage idea. Have any of those “leaders” thought about the consequences to those on fixed incomes? If the cost of everything goes up about 30% because the minumum wage went up about 30%, will welfare/food stamps and/or Social Security go up 30% too?

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