Urgent Filibuster Reform To Protect Voting Rights Called For By James Clyburn


During an appearance on MSNBC over the weekend, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — who, among other roles, leads the House Select Committer on the Coronavirus Crisis — spoke out once more against the continuance of the filibuster as it stands in the Senate. In the 100-member Senate, filibuster rules currently demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators before moving forward, including to a final vote, on most legislation. This guideline allows for the Senators who are in the minority in the chamber — in this case led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — to band together and stop progress, even if a simple majority in the chamber would support it.

Clyburn said that he personally believes that the filibuster “should be gotten rid of,” but he also acknowledged that a total elimination of the filibuster in the Senate could take time. In the meantime, he said, there should be an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rules made for Constitutional issues. Enacting that idea would allow for the passage of Constitutional rights-related proposals with a simple majority of the Senate in favor, while leaving the chamber’s filibuster rules in place for other issues.

As Clyburn put it:

‘We have made an exception to the filibuster — a carve-out, if you will — for budgeting matters. We decided that no one person or any group of people will be allowed to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America… That, I think, should apply to Constitutional issues as well. No one person, no one group should be allowed to jeopardize the Constitutional rights of any American. And so, to allow a person to sit downtown in the spa, and phone in an objection… that is just not right.’

It’s true — these days, Senators who wish to launch a filibuster don’t even have to sustain that objection through something like an hours-long floor speech, as they may have been required to undertake in the past. Now, a simple vote against moving forward is enough to stop the process. Watch Clyburn’s comments below:

Voting rights remain an urgent issue as Republicans in state governments around the country seek to impose suppressive new voting regulations that don’t relate to any real, documented, systematic election integrity issues — seeing as such issues don’t exist. Authorities in state governments and on the federal level have repeatedly and consistently confirmed as much, while not a single court anywhere in the country has ever accepted the idea that systematic fraud was present in last year’s presidential election. In reality, the new, GOP-backed voting regulations are simply making it more difficult to vote.