House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday signaled openness to reforming the filibuster to protect voting rights after President Biden suggested he might be open to eliminating the procedure entirely.
During a CNN town hall last week, the President was asked whether he would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on voting rights. Biden replied “and maybe more.” The President’s comments supporting potential changes to the filibuster were issued a day after Senate Republicans blocked Democrats’ voting rights bill, which prevented it from getting a floor debate before the final vote.
Appearing on CNN, Pelosi was asked whether she agrees with the President on getting rid of the filibuster to push policy proposals forward.
The House speaker signaled that reforming the filibuster is crucial to protect voting rights.
“The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy,” Pelosi said. “If there were one vote that (reforming) the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote.”
“And enable so much more because we’re talking about stopping the suppression of the vote and the nullification of the elections. We’re talking about redistricting, a way that is fair — may not benefit Democrats, but it might open up some of these Republican seats. It talks about stopping the big, dark, crushing special-interest money and empowers the grassroots,” Pelosi continued.
After expressing disappointment over the unsuccessful passage last week of the Freedom to Vote Act, which is the newest iteration of the For the People Act that was modified to get filibuster-loyalist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on board, Pelosi once again stressed that voting rights legislation is “fundamental to our democracy.”
Pelosi then proceeded to swipe at former President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by pointing out that Republicans killed the filibuster to appoint three Supreme Court justices when they were the majority.
“Mind you, just to remind, when what’s his name was President and the Republicans were in power, Mitch McConnell pulled back the filibuster to enable, with simple majorities, three justices to go to the Supreme Court for life,” Pelosi said. “You would think that they could pull it back for the American people to have the vote.”
Shortly after Senate Republicans filibustered Democrats’ voting rights bill last week, most Democrats turned their focus to addressing the filibuster after Manchin’s insistence that the bill garnered bipartisan support proved fruitless.
Prior to the voting rights bill getting blocked last week, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) earlier this month called on the Senate to do away with the filibuster for voting rights, saying that Manchin will likely have to come around to a filibuster carveout to push the new voting rights bill forward.
“I think he’s going to have to relent on the filibuster,” Clyburn said. “Nobody’s asking him to give up the filibuster. We’re saying treat the voting rights and constitutional rights when it comes to the filibuster the same way you treat the budget.”
Watch Pelosi’s remarks below: