President Joe Biden said he would consider scrapping the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority requirement to pass legislation protecting voting rights, his strongest comments yet criticizing the filibuster.
“And maybe more,” Biden said, perhaps indicating a broader interest in doing away with the 60-vote rule. Biden had earlier said an “awful lot of Democrats” would consider eliminating the filibuster to raise the debt limit, which Congress will need to do in December.
Biden’s comments may indicate his growing frustration with a rule that has prevented action on voting rights — earlier this week, Republicans refused to consider debate on voting rights legislation for the third time this year — and has indirectly forced his administration to compromise its agenda on other key issues, including immigration.
During his run for president and in the early days of his presidency, Biden stood by the filibuster, arguing that he would be able to make substantial progress toward bipartisan deals with Republicans on major issues. While the two parties did reach an infrastructure deal this summer, partisan warfare has continued to dominate congressional politics.
But Biden also acknowledged that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), along with some other conservative Democrats, continue to oppose significant filibuster reform. (Manchin has signaled a willingness to consider some tweaks to the process.)
“I lose at least three votes,” Biden said of the consequences for his broader agenda if he makes a push to eliminate the filibuster.