Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who heads the committee tasked with retaining the Democrat Party’s slim House majority in next year’s midterm elections, declared on Tuesday he supports abolishing the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster rule.
Maloney, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman, announced his support of invoking the nuclear option — or eliminating the filibuster — through an op-ed in the Hill in which he argued that “the Senate is choosing gridlock over progress” while the rule remains intact.
“Democrats must eliminate the filibuster, a shameful anti-democratic relic of Jim Crow, so that we can secure the right to vote and fulfill our promises to the American people,” he wrote.
Maloney joins a growing list of far-left Democrats who — while seeking to advance partisan agenda items such as packing the Supreme Court, granting D.C. statehood, federalizing elections, and tightening gun control — argue the rule allows Republicans to pursue endless debate that ultimately obstructs Democrats’ ability to pass bills.
The filibuster rule as it currently stands requires 60 votes to end legislative debate. With the Senate evenly split 50–50 between Republicans and Democrats, it is nearly impossible for Democrats to find an additional ten votes to avoid the filibuster for their more extreme pieces of legislation.
Working against Democrats as they call for nuking the legislative mechanism or changing its rules are more moderate members of the party like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). They, along with Republicans, say the filibuster serves as a protection for the voice of the minority party and have refused to entertain getting rid of it. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) this year warned nuking the filibuster would result in a “scorched-earth Senate” that would “hardly be able to function.”
Upon Maloney’s endorsement of invoking the nuclear option, the DCCC’s counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), was quick to release a statement advertising that Maloney’s support signals “every single vulnerable House Democrat endorses eliminating the filibuster”:
BREAKING: Every single vulnerable House Democrat endorses eliminating the filibuster https://t.co/UI8M4uuEqh
— NRCC (@NRCC) May 4, 2021
Maloney, who represents New York’s 18th District, is one of 57 House Democrats the NRCC has targeted as “vulnerable” to losing their seat in the 2022 midterm elections.
Biden won New York’s 18th District in 2020 by single digits and the most recent Cook Political Report rates it as one point favorable toward Republicans, indicating the district presents a pickup opportunity for House Republicans amid their pursuit to take the House majority.
Maloney has also been under fire recently for a number of issues, including revelations that he spent thousands of dollars on travel last year despite urging his constituents to “stay home” because of coronavirus and that he failed to report stock trades in a timely manner as Congress requires.
The New York Democrat has nevertheless been pushing ahead and campaigning for Democrat gains in 2022, writing in his filibuster op-ed, “Democrats aren’t going to win on a platform of inaction. To keep our promises to the American people, we must get out of our own way.”
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