Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts spoke out against the legislative filibuster this past Thursday in an interview with Axios. In the interview, she stated that it “has deep roots in racism” and goes against the original idea of the found fathers. These comments crop up more and more as progressive Democrats seek to abolish the Senate tradition.
“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. In a democracy, it’s majority rules,” Warren stated.
Warren continued in the interview by saying that at the Constitutional Convention, “the founders debated whether to require a supermajority in either House of Congress, and decided that government would function more effectively if both the Senate and the House worked by simple majority … When they didn’t want a simple majority, for example in an impeachment, they said so specifically. The filibuster is a later creation that was designed to give the South the ability to veto any effective civil rights legislation or anti-lynching legislation.”
The whole argument against the filibuster sprouted at a time when voting rights laws are up for debate in Congress. The House recently p[assed the “For the People Act” which would dramatically change laws concerning voter rights across the country. Democrats are speaking out about the need to create a federal-level bill to circumvent the coming Republican-controlled state legislatures’ moves to pass their own voting rights laws. They seek to remove power from the state governments because Democrats claim that the state laws promote voter suppression, specifically of the minority vote.
This past Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that “everything is on the table” for getting the “For the People Act” passed quickly in the Senate.
“We will see if our Republican friends join us. If they don’t join us, our caucus will come together and decide the appropriate action to take,” Schumer said. “Failure is not an option.”
Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia(D) also made comments in an interview with Axios with Kadia Goba. Axios Reported, “‘It’s important that we not continue to allow the filibuster to be a tool used to suppress the right to vote, that black people have fought and died for,’ Johnson said, adding that he thinks moderate Democrats should consider changes to the Senate rule that would exclude it from applying to voting rights legislation.”
With Democrats in power of both the House and the Senate, we can expect to see a higher chance that reforms of the Senate rules would be shoved through. Moderate Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has stated that he is not in favor of tossing out the idea of the filibuster, but he may be referring to and be in favor of the “talking filibuster.” The 2022 elections are going to be much spicier as both Republicans and Democrats battle over ground to take control of the Senate.