The Senate must change “how a filibuster works,” President Barack Obama told donors Wednesday evening at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York.
Here’s the transcript, circulated by the White House, and first caught by Roll Call’s Steven Dennis (emphasis added):
So my main message is one of hope. We’ve got all the ingredients to make this the American Century, just like the last one. To achieve it, though, we’ve got to make sure our political system works better. And, yes, there are all kinds of reforms that we need to do, from campaign finance to how a filibuster works, to going after Republicans hard when their main political agenda when it comes to — or main election strategy is preventing people from voting — we’ve got to push back on all that stuff. But ultimately, there are enough voters out there to deliver if we can turn them out.
Although he didn’t elaborate, Obama’s comments were notable as he tends not to weigh in publicly on Senate procedure, deferring to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). The remark reflects the White House’s frustration with the Republican minority’s obstruction of many of its initiatives. It has also griped about the “blue slip” procedure that gives home-state senators a veto over judicial nominees.
In November, Democrats triggered the so-called nuclear option to change the filibuster rule and end the 60-vote threshold for non-Supreme Court nominations. Some progressive senators want to go further and require a talking filibuster for legislation and place a higher burden on an obstructing minority.