Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) went after recent comments from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union over the weekend, dismantling her arguments in favor of leaving the filibuster as it stands in place in the Senate. The 100-member chamber’s filibuster rules require the agreement of at least 60 Senators before moving forward on most bills, thereby allowing the Republican minority in the Senate to block the Democratic majority from enacting new protections for voting rights at the federal level. Sinema continues to stand by the filibuster, meaning that she’s helping allow for the sinking of voting rights pushes, no matter what else she says.
Senator Sinema admonished Democrats to try listening. So I listened to Steve Bannon today. Below is what he said.
Should we listen some more? https://t.co/dqpuSyp75E
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) January 15, 2022
Sinema reiterated her stance supporting the filibuster rules just recently, amid a renewed effort by Democratic leaders to get certain voting rights proposals passed. With the current party breakdown in the Senate, every Democrat would have to agree for filibuster changes to be enacted. While on CNN, Clyburn commented as follows, discussing how the filibuster wouldn’t have to be entirely eliminated in the Senate to allow for the progress that Democrats are after:
‘We just got around the filibuster to raise the debt limit. Why? Because we don’t want to put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk. No one has asked her to eliminate the filibuster… But when it comes to the Constitution of the United States of America, no one person sitting downtown in a spa ought to be able to pick up the telephone and say you are going to put a hold on my ability to vote, and that’s what’s going on here. So I would wish they would stop that foolishness, because if we do not protect the vote with everything that we’ve got, we will not have a country to protect forward. I don’t know where we got the notion from that this democracy is here to stay, no matter how we conduct ourselves… We took the oath of office to protect this country.’
Asked if he will challenge Sinema, Rep. Ruben Gallego tells NBC: "I always keep the door open to the future."
"This excuse she's using that it may get worse is not true. It is worse. This is the dark times, and she needs to step up. Help us pass the voting rights." @NBCNews
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 16, 2022
Biden himself has expressed support for changing the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow for the passage of new voting rights protections. Asked about Democrats who might say that Biden’s recent apparent comparison of those on the side of leaving Senate filibuster rules intact and letting voting rights proposals fail to those on the side of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis went too far, Clyburn added the following:
‘Is it going too far to criminalize giving somebody a bottle of water standing in line trying to vote, standing in line for 4 or 5 hours — is that going too far? Is it going too far to put in place mechanisms to nullify a vote when people have cast their votes — if you don’t like the outcome, then you’ve got the power to nullify that. Is that going too far? Everything we’ve seen coming out of Georgia violates the Constitution of the United States of America… That is what’s going too far. And so if anybody is going to focus on the speech and pay no attention to the actions, that violates Biblical principles.’
Watch Clyburn below:
Dem. WHIP Rep. James Clyburn says the election reform bills are not dead, but he allows that "they may be on life support," adding, "we're not giving up. We're going to fight and we plan to win because the people of goodwill are going to break their silence and help us win." pic.twitter.com/gdhjL2OmVx
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 16, 2022