Biden Supports Change To Senate Filibuster Rules To Restore Abortion Rights
President Joe Biden voiced his support for changing Senate filibuster rules to codify abortion and privacy rights following the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and ended the federal right to abortion last month.
“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law and the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that, and if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be ‘we provide an exception for this’ — require an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision,” Biden said at the NATO summit.
The Senate currently requires bills to meet a 60-vote threshold, which has proven to be a tall task in the evenly split upper chamber since Biden took office. To follow through on his proposition, Biden would likely need to wait and hope the Democrats can gain a minimum of two Senate seats and retain the majority in the House of Representatives. The probability is unlikely.
Biden’s comments mark the first time he has fully voiced support for changing filibuster rules, even as other left-wing politicians have called for it. Centrist Sens. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) have also previously stood in the way of altering the filibuster, and their offices reiterated their stances following the president’s comments. Manchin did, however, back codifying abortion rights.
Biden’s position on the filibuster instigated criticism from both sides of the aisle.
“The notion of changing the rules is really at the mercy of one or two senators who can make that decision for us,” Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois), the second-highest-ranking Senate Democrat, said. “This is not the political environment to be looking” for “massive institutional change.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) issued a strong warning to the president.
“Attacking a core American institution like the Supreme Court from the world stage is below the dignity of the President,” McConnell said in a statement. “Beyond that, President Biden’s attacks on the Court are unmerited and dangerous. He’s upset that the Court said the people, through their elected representatives, will have a say on abortion policy. That does not destabilize democracy – it affirms it. By contrast, it is behavior like the President’s that undermines equal justice and the rule of law.”