Clinton Urges Suspending the Legislative Filibuster

Clinton Urges Suspending the Legislative Filibuster bill clinton sits onstage and speaks into handheld mic Former President Bill Clinton speaks onstage during the TIME 100 Health Summit at Pier 17 on Oct. 17, 2019, in New York City. (Brian Ach/Getty Images for TIME 100 Health Summit )

By David Volz | Thursday, 24 June 2021 02:34 PM

Suspending the legislative filibuster in the Senate is worthwhile because it will "preserve democracy," said former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton said the filibuster "is being used to try to prevent a repeat of 2020, when we had enormous voter participation," during a Wednesday appearance on NBC’s "Late Night." He told host Seth Meyers that "all the states that are in the hands of people that don’t like that and want to maintain a racial income differential are trying to make it harder to vote," according to The Hill.

Clinton said he understood President Joe Biden’s unwillingness to "get rid of it all together." He also explained that he understood Senator Joe Machin, D-W. Va., who opposes eliminating the 60-vote requirement for most legislation to pass the Senate.

"But I think when it comes to preserving democracy, you know I would suspend the filibuster because I think it’s essential. I don’t think that we should be in the business of going backwards in trying to drive down voting rights," Clinton said. "I think we need to expand it. And I think that every time we’ve done it before, it’s made us a better country, it’s made us a stronger country. And it would do both parties good to have to get out and compete for those new voters."

Clinton's comments to Meyers come after a Republican filibuster blocked a major election reform bill, the For the People Act, from being debated on Tuesday.

The For the People Act was a top priority for congressional Democrats and Biden who said, "this fight is far from over." The Democrats were able to stay unified with Sen. Manchin voting with his party in the procedural vote to open debate on this measure.

But the 50 votes they got fell ten short of the 60 needed under Senate rules to advance legislation. Vice President Kamela Harris, who is working to get voting rights reform legislation passed, announced the 50 – 50 final vote in the Democrat defeat in her role as president of the Senate. All the Republican Senators voted No against the Act, according to ABC News.

Original Article