Former President Barack Obama urged Senate Democrats last week to eliminate the filibuster, which he called a ‘Jim Crow’ relic.
But several Democrats told Insider they would not vote to end the old rule that they view as an important check on the majority’s power.
Nixing the filibuster would reduce the Senate to a ‘glorified’ version of the House, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said in an interview.
‘I think it’s a part of Senate tradition, which creates a sobering effect on the body, which is healthy,’ added Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.
The filibuster requires a 60-vote threshold for most bills and was used extensively by Republicans to block the Obama administration’s agenda on big issues like climate change and gun control.
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Barack Obama wants to kill the Senate filibuster. Joe Biden says he’s open to abolishing it too if it means advancing his governing agenda.
But the reality that’s emerging on Capitol Hill even as the stars appear to be aligning for a possible Democratic sweep in November is that some of the party’s most important senators aren’t quite there — yet.
In interviews outside the historic Senate chamber on Tuesday, several Democrats said they would not vote to eliminate what Obama calls the “Jim Crow relic” requirement that a supermajority of 60 votes must coalesce behind a bill for it to pass the procedure-bound chamber.
Others insisted they remain on the fence even while acknowledging the filibuster would make it harder if they win the majority in 2020 for Democrats to pass a long legislative wishlist on everything from climate change to gun control and health care — the kinds of issues that have long drawn fervent Republican opposition.
“No, I would not vote to eliminate the filibuster,” Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said. “That’s not what the Senate is about.”
Killing the rule, Manchin added, would reduce the upper chamber to a “glorified” version of the majority-rules House of Representatives.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein also cannot be counted on by those wishing to get rid of the rule. The California Democrat who ranks as the fifth longest-serving senator in a chamber that prides itself on precedent told Insider the filibuster gives all of the country’s voters an important say in whether any legislation is passed.
“I think it’s a part of Senate tradition, which creates a sobering effect on the body, which is healthy,” Feinstein said in an interview.
The Senate filibuster is legendary for making it difficult to move legislation through a chamber where the difference between the majority and minority parties in recent years has been just a handful of seats. It’s been the sticking point stalling many big legislative lifts too, like police reform and a border wall during the Trump era and Obama’s losing efforts to enact laws capping greenhouse gas emissions and controlling guns.
Still, some of the senators interviewed Tuesday said they remain reluctant to take a position on eliminating the 60-vote threshold. A few cautioned though that they could …read more
Source:: Business Insider