President Biden said in a CNN town hall on Thursday that he is open to ending the Senate filibuster, but that it would have to wait until the passage of two key spending bills. The filibuster, though not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, is a Senate rule that allows the minority party to block legislation that does not receive 60 of the body's 100 votes. Doing away with the filibuster would allow Biden and Democrats to pass a broader swath of their agenda, including voting rights guarantees.
- Biden said on CNN that, if he pushed to end the filibuster now, he would lose "at least three votes" on the social safety net and infrastructure spending bills currently under negotiation in Congress.
- Senate Republicans utilized the filibuster rules this week to block federal voting rights legislation promoted by Democrats for a third time.
- Biden previously floated the idea of a one-time filibuster rule change in order to raise the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans ultimately relented earlier this month in allowing the debt ceiling to be temporarily raised, but a new deadline of Dec. 3 is already fast approaching.
- A number of Democrats have argued that the filibuster must be removed or altered if Biden wants to pass climate change, immigration, or prison reform legislation.