Clyburn rails against filibuster on House floor

Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the No. 3 Democrat in the House, took to the chamber’s floor Friday to rail against the Senate filibuster, which he said is being used to block recently passed voting rights legislation.

Clyburn, a civil rights activist before taking public office, touted the importance of the For the People Act and the John LewisJohn LewisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one Obama, Dave Chappelle nominated in same Grammy category MORE Voting Rights Act, which would, among other things, require states to offer mail-in ballots and a minimum of 15 days of early voting and prevent state legislatures from unilaterally making changes to voting procedures. 

The bills, however, face steep uphill climbs in a 50-50 Senate, where most legislation must meet a 60-vote threshold.

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“The Senate minority leader and several of his colleagues seem to be hellbent on using archaic Senate procedures to allow the minority in the Senate to block any legislation designed to protect the voting and civil rights of our country’s minority citizens as we continue our pursuit toward the fulfillment of liberty and justice for all,” Clyburn said. 

“Their efforts are designed to gain power for their party by suppressing political participation by minorities. The minority leader has threatened that if Senate Democrats modify the filibuster rules, to do to him as he did to President Obama, he will resort to scorched-earth tactics.” 

Democrats have pushed the voting rights legislation as Republican-led states across the country consider restrictions that critics say are attempts to suppress the vote among people of color who typically lean Democratic.

“Today, Republicans are using the big lie about the 2020 elections as a pretext to advance a litany of minority voting suppression laws. They know that our vision of liberty and justice for all enjoys majority support among voters. So they seek to suppress enough votes so that their oppressive policies and bankrupt ideas can prevail,” Clyburn said.

“To block this threat, the Senate must eliminate the 60-vote threshold to end the filibuster on voting rights and civil rights legislation.” 

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The comments mark a doubling down by Clyburn, who has repeatedly come out swinging against the filibuster in the new session of Congress.

“We are not going to just give in to these arcane methods of denying progress. This party is not going to do it,” he said earlier this month.

Clyburn holds significant sway with the White House given his decades long relationship with President BidenJoe BidenBiden to provide update Monday on US response to omicron variant Restless progressives eye 2024 Emhoff lights first candle in National Menorah-lighting ceremony MORE and his key role in lifting up Biden's campaign after a slow start in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. 

Biden, who spent decades representing Delaware in the Senate, has signaled a reluctance to completely scrap the 60-vote filibuster. However, he did open the door to supporting a “talking filibuster,” which would require senators to hold the floor for as long as they can to object to a piece of legislation.

“You had to stand up and command the floor and you had to keep talking along,” Biden said this week. “Once you stopped talking, you lost that and someone could move in and say, I move to the question of.”