Democrat Senate Candidates Want to Stop Filibuster Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., speaks as members of Congress share their recollections on the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2022 in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
By Peter Malbin | Tuesday, 25 January 2022 01:13 PM
Democrats are furious at their own senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin's opposition to changing the filibuster rule, which recently helped derail a final vote on voting rights legislation.
Party activists predict such a position will be unworkable soon for any Democrat, whether liberal or centrist, The Hill reported.
"I really do think Sinema [D-Ariz.] and Manchin [D-W.Va.] are the last two members of the Senate Democratic Caucus that will ever support keeping the filibuster in its current form,” said Brian Fallon, a former senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
"It's hard to imagine anybody getting elected in the future that won’t arrive on a platform of getting rid of the filibuster."
In the Pennsylvania Senate Democrat primary, both leading candidates, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and centrist Rep. Conor Lamb, want to eliminate the filibuster, The Hill reported.
In the Wisconsin Senate Democrat primary, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson and Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry also have supported ending the filibuster.
"You’re seeing that phenomenon take hold with candidates in primaries. Mandela Barnes is for getting rid of the filibuster, John Fetterman is getting rid of the filibuster. Even [Democratic Rep.] Val Demings, who is trying to run a more moderate [Senate] campaign in Florida," Fallon noted.
Ray Zaccaro, a former senior adviser to Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said filibuster reform will be a major issue in the 2022 midterm elections.
"It's nearly unthinkable now to imagine the subject of Senate reform not being a very serious and broadly discussed component of any 2022 Senate race, certainly for the primaries," he said.
With the filibuster rule in place, a minority group of Senate members can take advantage of the rule that 60 votes are needed to stop debate on a bill. Debate can last indefinitely and must conclude before the bill can be voted on and passed. Therefore, an opposing minority of at least 41 members can prevent the passage of a bill, even if a supporting majority of at least 51 members could later pass it.
Former President Barack Obama called the filibuster a "Jim Crow relic" while speaking at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. President Joe Biden said he agreed with Obama that the filibuster "was a relic of the Jim Crow era."
If Democrats can add two seats to their Senate majority in November by picking up the open seat held by retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and vulnerable incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., they can overcome the opposition of Sinema and Manchin to rules reform.
"I would be surprised if there’s anyone in any of these [competitive] states … that would support maintaining the filibuster,” said Democrat Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, according to Politico. “Getting rid of the filibuster is as close to a litmus test for our party as I can describe."
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