Biden Backs ‘Talking Filibuster’ Reform: ‘That’s What It Was Supposed To Be’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks about reopening the country during a speech in Darby, Pennsylvania, on June 17, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
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March 17, 2021 7:57 a.m.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday endorsed the notion of making the filibuster, a Senate procedure that essentially requires 60 votes to pass bills instead of a simple majority, more painful to carry out as Republicans routinely weaponize it to kill Democrats’ legislative agenda.

“I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in a pre-taped interview. “You had to stand up and command the floor and you had to keep talking.”

The President asserted that the talking filibuster is “what it was supposed to be” and that the current filibustering process made it too easy to keep the Senate from getting anything done.

“It’s getting to the point where democracy’s having a hard time functioning,” he said.

With blockbuster legislation like the H.R. 1 voting rights bill and the Equality Act on the line that would be dead on arrival in the Senate under the current system, Democrats are looking at ways to reform the filibuster as conservative Democrats like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) refuse to get rid of the procedure wholesale.

Manchin has signaled support for a talking filibuster and making the process “a little bit more painful.”

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