Senate Republicans Monday filibustered Democrats’ bill to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling, days before a potential federal shutdown and possible debt default.
Republicans vowed for weeks to oppose a debt ceiling increase and urged Democrats to put the provision in their filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. But Democrats have thus far refused to do so, and with their bill’s failure Monday, Congress now has just three days to pass a new funding bill to avoid a government shutdown set to begin Friday at midnight.
Progressives renewed their calls to abolish the Senate filibuster and expand the Supreme Court after it did not block a Texas law restricting abortion access from going into effect.
“Republicans promised to overturn Roe v Wade, and they have,” New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote just after midnight Thursday, invoking the 1973 landmark Supreme Court case. “Democrats can either abolish the filibuster and expand the court, or do nothing as millions of peoples’ bodies, rights, and lives are sacrificed for far-right minority rule.”
The Texas Senate on Thursday morning passed the elections bill that state Democrats have attempted several times to prevent from becoming law.
Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Carol Alvarado filibustered the bill for 15-hours in the latest long shot attempt to prevent its passage, but the chamber endured and passed the legislation by a vote of 18-11 this morning. Filibuster rules required Alvarado to remain standing, addressing the chamber on exclusively the subject of the bill, without bathroom breaks or food.
The attempt came one day after Dade Phelan, the Republican Speaker of the Texas House authorized arrest warrants for the 52 Democrats who have failed to show up for the second special session this summer of the Texas legislature, thereby denying the chamber a quorum.
Senate Democrats have publicly released their $3.5 trillion, filibuster-proof budget reconciliation resolution.
The draft of the legislation released on Monday includes new spending programs that the White House has labeled “human infrastructure,” such as universal pre-K, childcare support and tuition free community college.
The spending total is estimated over a 10-year period. Using budget reconciliation allows the Democrats to pass the measure without votes from Republicans in the 50-50 Senate. Democrats used the same process in March to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan Act.
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb launched a long-expected Senate bid in his state Friday morning, becoming the latest to join a crowded primary field in one of the country’s most competitive races.
Lamb, a 37-year-old Marine, first won a special election in a Pittsburgh-area swing district in 2018, months before Democrats took control of the House. He is vying to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in a state that President Joe Biden narrowly won, as Democrats look to expand their slim 50-50 majority.
Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema reaffirmed her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote Senate filibuster, rebuffing progressives who have decried the legislative rule and called for its removal.
Sinema argued that scrapping the Senate rule would erode “democracy’s guardrails,” writing in The Washington Post that doing so would lead the nation to “lose much more than we gain.”
“It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold,” Sinema wrote. “I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House, and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) wants Senate Democrats to step to the plate and abolish the filibuster, which would pave the way for near-total Democrat control of Congress.
“Please stop asking us about bipartisanship when this is what the leader of the other party is focused on,” she said on Twitter. “Democrats can’t repeat the mistake of 2009, we must abolish the filibuster & move legislation that helps us deliver progress for the American people. Let’s grow a backbone.”
On April 7, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) penned an oped for the Washington Post entitled, “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” appearing to foreclose any possibility of President Joe Biden ramming through major changes to law on a slim partisan basis expanding the Supreme Court, nationalizing election law, expanding statehood to D.C. or Puerto Rico, and so forth.
“The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote, appearing to salvage the nation’s two-party system — for now.
But not so fast, say House Democrats, who last week unveiled a plan to expand the Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, the Judiciary Act of 2021.
As the debate regarding the future of the Senate filibuster heats up, a recent report has confirmed that the Democrats, who are now advocating for its abolition, utilized the procedural stalling tactic exponentially more times than the Republicans did over the course of 2020, as reported by Breitbart.
With the Senate evenly-divided at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, most legislation will not be able to pass without at least 60 votes in favor due to the filibuster. As such, Democrats – who technically maintain control with Vice President Kamala Harris able to serve as the tie-breaking vote – have begun advocating for eliminating the filibuster in order to rush through some of the most radical items on their agenda without any Republican support.
Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the filibuster racist Thursday, months after she filibustered Republican Sen. Tim Scott’s police reform legislation.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the filibuster is both racist and shouldn’t be permitted in the Senate since it gives the minority veto power, according to Axios. The legislative filibuster, which dates back to the 1800s, is a rule that requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass in the Senate.
“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority,” Warren told Axios on Thursday. “In a democracy, it’s majority rules.”
On March 16, President Joe Biden opened the door to changing Senate rules requiring 60 votes in order to advance legislation, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos “democracy is having a hard time functioning.”
When asked if he had to choose between “preserving the filibuster, and advancing your agenda,” Biden’s answer was “Yes.”
Biden continued, “But here’s the choice: 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…You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”
Democrats by no measure have a clear mandate in Washington. But they sure do act like it.
Senate Democrats know that they don’t have support for many items on their radical agenda, more of which Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to force votes on in the coming weeks. That’s why talks are recirculating in the Senate to end the filibuster once and for all.
After sweeping the trifecta of the House, Senate and White House in 2020 with the slimmest of majorities, Democrats have a diminishing window of opportunity to enact their agenda and keep their political base happy.
After all, majorities do not last forever, and in midterm elections from 1906 to 2018, the party that occupies the White House usually loses on average 31 seats in the House, and about three seats in the Senate. And with just a 10-seat majority in the House and a zero-seat majority in the Senate with it all tied, 50-50, the odds Democrats lose at least one legislative chamber in 2022 is exceptionally high.
After receiving commitments from two Democratic colleagues that they wouldn’t abolish the filibuster, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’ll hand over the chamber’s legislative gavels to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The U.S. Senate is actually split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, but Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.
Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders said that he will filibuster a Senate override of President Donald Trump’s military bill veto unless the chamber votes on legislation providing $2,000 checks to Americans.
“McConnell and the Senate want to expedite the override vote and I understand that,” Sanders told reporters Monday evening. “But I’m not going to allow that to happen unless there is a vote, no matter how long that takes, on the $2,000 direct payment.”
by Kevin Daley Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Sunday that her party should not have invoked the so-called nuclear option and abolished the legislative filibuster for judicial nominees. The remarks come just before Judge Brett Kavanaugh will appear for confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican lawmakers…