Biden Supports Return of 'Talking Filibuster'

He says under current rules, 'democracy is having a hard time functioning'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2021 4:51 PM CDT
Biden Says He Supports Big Change to Filibuster
President Biden sits next to a bowl of Irish shamrocks as he has a virtual meeting with Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin on St. Patrick's Day, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Remember when filibusters meant lawmakers who wanted to hold up a bill actually had to talk on the Senate floor for a long time? President Biden does. The president, who was a senator for 36 years and has generally seemed resistant to changing its rules, says he would support a move to bring back the "talking filibuster," the New York Times reports. Reform advocates have said the filibuster rules, which require most legislation to get at least 60 votes to pass the Senate, need to change, but Biden told ABC Tuesday night that the choice doesn't have to be between abolishing the filibuster or seeing his agenda fail, though he said "democracy is having a hard time functioning" under the current rules.

"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 said. "You had to stand up and command the floor, and you had to keep talking." Under the current rules, senators only need to signal that they intend to filibuster to trigger the requirement to get 60 votes to end debate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a key swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, has said he will never support abolishing the filibuster but he is open to making it more "painful" to use. (Earlier this week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that getting rid of the filibuster would backfire on Democrats and create a "scorched-earth Senate.")

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