On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signaled that he may be throwing his support behind the progressive movement to dismantle the filibuster in its current form. But even Democrats know that getting rid of the legislative filibuster would be a bad idea. . . As Politico reports:
Two Democratic senators, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, are hard opponents of changes to the 60-vote threshold. But that duo's firm resistance is obscuring the size of another, bigger faction in the Democratic caucus — call them softer opponents of ending the filibuster.
In interviews Wednesday, at least seven additional Democratic caucus members said that they weren’t willing to scrap the supermajority requirement for most legislation just yet. Their reluctance shows how challenging it will be to get all 50 members of the Democratic caucus on board with fundamentally altering the rules of the Senate, despite pressure from progressives both on and off the Hill. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said “there are several senators who have expressed concerns” within the caucus about a rules change.
“I’m not a big fan of the talking filibuster. I just don’t know whether it will work. We talk a good game, but when we get here late at night, there’s usually accommodations,” said Sen. Cardin. Getting rid of 60 requirement?— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 17, 2021
“I believe in majority rule … we’re not there yet"
King “very reluctant” to make that change given the prospect of GOP retribution: “It’s a double edged sword that I think the advocates for [change] are ignoring.”— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) March 17, 2021
“We can reform the filibuster. I don’t support eliminating it. There are ways to make it work better,” said Shaheen
The article continued:
The pressure for that intra-caucus conversation could increase in the coming months, as more progressive legislation in the House piles up across the Capitol. The filibuster is an increasingly potent threat to the Democratic agenda as a parade of the party's high-priority bills pass Speaker Nancy Pelosi's House on a simple majority vote only to run into an obvious Senate roadblock. Pelosi has been pushing an idea to allow for an exception to the filibuster if a bill would advance civil rights, mentioning to her caucus on Wednesday morning.
Some Democrats, like Manchin, suggest that they will stay firm on their position on the filibuster (at least for now) regardless of what legislation comes before the Senate.
On specific carveouts. “That's a little bit like being pregnant -- maybe.” On change to 41 senators: “No, I'm still at 60. Ok?" Manchin said, noting these "are all interesting" ideas. Said GOP blocking S.1 won’t change his mind— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 17, 2021
Even some liberal Democrats from deep blue states have concerns:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) tells Capitol Hill pool she's not yet sold on nixing the filibuster, fretting that it could backfire on Democrats when GOP regains power.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 17, 2021
"I am concerned. That is a factor," she says. "One of the reasons why I'm hesitant."
As Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out in an interview with Fox News' Harris Faulkner, the Democrats' crusade to end the filibuster is hypocritical:
Eliminating the legislative filibuster is not in the best interest of the country, no matter which party is in control.— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) March 17, 2021
Anyone who really understands the Senate knows that steamrolling the rules wouldn't fast-track policymaking. Everything would grind to a halt. https://t.co/S5a11JuTWN
Many Democrats see so-called filibuster "reform" as the key to pushing through their radical agenda. However, Senate Democrats should heed the warnings of Senator McConnell and those in their own party about the deleterious effects the rule changes would have on the Senate as an institution.
Breaking Senate rules to kill the filibuster would not open up an express lane to liberal change. It would not open up an express lane for the Biden presidency to speed into the history books. The Senate would function more like a hundred-car pile-up. Nothing moving.— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) March 16, 2021