Schumer Threatens Filibuster Rule Change in the Coming Weeks

On Monday, Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer indicated that he would hold a vote in the next few weeks to change Senate filibuster rules. He is threatening these changes in the event that the chamber inevitably is unable to pass one of the radical pieces of election legislation proposed by Democrats in 2021. In his letter, Senator Schumer wrote:

We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history. As former Senator Robert Byrd famously said, Senate Rules “must be changed to reflect changed circumstances.” Put more plainly by Senator Byrd, “Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past.”

The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections

Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked Senate Democrats' far-left proposals. Fox News noted:

Senate Republicans blocked the legislation four times in 2021. Republicans have argued the legislation would infringe on the right of states to dictate their own election laws and would unduly favor the Democratic party. The latest version of the voting rights legislation would establish a federal election framework, create rules aimed at preventing partisan redistricting, and overhaul the campaign finance system.

As the Lawyers Democracy Fund points out, Schumer's decision to pursue a change to the filibuster in an effort to override state election reform legislation is a bizarre move considering that reforms pursued in Republican states are well within the mainstream.

Senate Republicans also reacted to Senator Schumer's letter on Twitter.

Senator Schumer should take his own advice on eliminating the filibuster which he once considered so important that it should have a "firewall" around it.

Eliminating the filibuster would be a dangerous move by Senate Democrats and should be opposed at all costs. As Senator Schumer himself said: "Without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the Senate becomes a majoritarian institution like the House, much more subject to the winds of short-term electoral change. No Senator would like to see that happen, so let's find a way to further protect the 60-vote rule for legislation[.]"