During an appearance on Late Night with host Seth Meyers this week, former President Bill Clinton said that he supports suspending filibuster rules in the Senate to allow for enacting new federal protections for voting rights. Making certain categories of legislation, like bills protecting voting rights, exempt from the Senate’s filibuster rules is one of an array of reform proposals that have emerged so far. At present, the Senate’s filibuster rules demand the agreement of 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before progressing, including to a final vote, on most bills, and with the Senate’s current party breakdown, that requires at least 10 Republicans.
In recent days, Senate Republicans filibustered a piece of comprehensive voting rights legislation known as the For the People Act. Senate Republicans have also filibustered a bill that would have created an independent commission to investigate the January riot at the Capitol, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced this week that a select committee in Congress was getting created to examine the matter. The committee will, like other Congressional committees, have powers like the ability to issue subpoenas.
Meanwhile, Clinton commented as follows:
‘[The filibuster] is now being used to try to prevent a repeat of 2020, when we had the enormous voter participation. So all the states that are in the hands of people who don’t like that and want to maintain a racial income differential are trying to make it harder to vote. I understand the president’s reluctant to get rid of it altogether, and I sympathize with Joe Manchin who’s trying to stand up for the right thing and represent people that voted more than two to one for President Trump. But I think when it comes to preserving democracy, I would suspend the filibuster because I think it’s essential. I don’t think that we should be in the business of going backwards and trying to drive down voting rights.’
Check out Clinton’s comments below:
If enacted, the For the People Act would tamp down on voter suppression moves that are underway at the direction of Republicans in state legislatures around the country. Republicans have put forward — and in some cases successfully enacted — suppressive new voting restrictions that they claim address supposed election security problems but in reality simply make it more difficult to vote.