Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) declared Thursday that he supports former President Barack Obama’s proposal to “eliminate the filibuster” to allow Democrats to push through changes to the nation’s election laws.
Obama used his eulogy at the funeral of Rep. John Lewis to call for passing “voting rights” legislation that would restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that had been struck down by the Supreme Court.
“And if all this takes is ending the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do,” Obama said.
The filibuster is a parliamentary rule that requires 60 members of the Senate to agree to allow a bill to proceed to a final vote.
Segregationist Democrats used the filibuster to block civil rights legislation, but the filibuster has also been used by both parties to urge compromises.
In the Democratic Party presidential primary, Sanders said was asked whether he wanted to eliminate the filibuster to allow Democrats to push through sweeping legislation like Medicare for All. His reply:
No. But what I would support, absolutely, is passing major legislation, the gun legislation the people here are talking about, Medicare for all, climate change legislation that saves the planet. I will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen, and you can do it in a variety of ways. You can do that through budget reconciliation law. You have a vice president who will, in fact, tell the Senate what is appropriate and what is not, what is in order and what is not.
That changed on Thursday:
NEW: @BernieSanders, who was against the change during the primary, says he agrees with Obama that the filibuster should be eliminated to expand voting rights/protect against voter suppression https://t.co/dQA9aJfFjW
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) July 30, 2020
Some Democrats still oppose ending the filibuster — for now:
Angus King, who caucuses with Dems, told me that he is “100%” opposed to killing filibuster. This is another significant defection among push to gut filibuster and could have major implications for Biden if Dems win in Nov.
“No” votes so far:
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 30, 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden also once opposed ending the filibuster, but signaled a shift earlier this month, when he told a conference call of reporters that he hoped to bring the parties together, but would “look” at ending the filibuster.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.