Hillary Clinton Demands Filibuster Reform To Save Democracy From GOP

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Hillary Clinton is pushing for changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules in order to allow for the passage of new protections at the federal level for voting rights. If the Senate operated according to the will of a simple majority, then voting rights protections could be passed — but that’s not how the chamber functions. Instead, antiquated procedural rules mean that at least 60 Senators have to agree — out of 100 total — before most bills are able to move forward. In practice, these filibuster provisions mean that most successful legislation must be at least somewhat bipartisan, but Mitch McConnell isn’t known for good faith bipartisanship, to say the least.

Clinton spoke about the issue in the context of the passage by the Senate of a bill that would allow Congress to raise the debt ceiling with the support of a simple majority in both chambers, not just the House. (The debt ceiling, as explained by a Treasury Department webpage, “is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.”) Discussing the Senate’s approval of that short-term rules change, Clinton commented as follows:

‘It was necessary to carve out an exception to the filibuster to defend the full faith and credit of the United States. It is also necessary to carve one out for voting rights, the basis of our entire democracy.’

It’s an argument that others have made — but changing the Senate’s filibuster rules would require the agreement of a simple majority in the chamber, and there are holdouts on the Democratic side, including Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who support the persistence of the filibuster in the Senate. In Arizona, there’s already a political action committee (PAC) called the Primary Sinema PAC, which is providing a unified front for efforts to launch a challenge against Sinema in the upcoming Democratic primary for her seat. Sinema will be up for re-election in 2024. In the meantime, Republicans in positions of state-level power are continuing their push to restrict the electoral process despite the lack of any real-world, systematic integrity issues getting uncovered.