Sen. Tina Smith calls for eliminating filibuster
Sen. Tina Smith (Minn.) on Friday became the latest Democratic senator to call for eliminating the Senate filibuster.
“I’ve made up my mind. We need to move this country forward, and that’s why I’ve decided to come out in support of eliminating the filibuster,” Smith said on Twitter.
I’ve made up my mind.
We need to move this country forward, and that’s why I’ve decided to come out in support of eliminating the filibuster.
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) March 5, 2021
Smith in a Facebook post on Thursday said she initially supported keeping the filibuster, but had determined it was an “enemy of progress.”
“Without it, I reasoned, what would stop a conservative president and Congress from doing terrible damage to women’s health care, voting rights and civil rights,” Smith wrote of her initial position.
“But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the filibuster has long been the enemy of progress. In fact, it’s been a highly effective tool to thwart the will of the people,” she wrote.
Smith also criticized the argument that the filibuster protects the minority party’s rights against the majority.
“What the filibuster does is allow a minority of Senators to just say no to any idea they don’t like,” she wrote. “They don’t have to negotiate because they can stop anything. [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] is the master of obstruction, but the big problem is that this is fundamentally undemocratic.”
Progressive Democrats have been pushing for Senate Democrats to do away with the filibuster by using Senate rules. The Senate has previously eliminated the filibuster on nominations and on Supreme Court justice nominations in this fashion.
But some Democrats in the Senate oppose eliminating the filibuster, so the 50 votes to kill it off are not there yet.
Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have made clear that they would not support ending the filibuster.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told Mother Jones in an interview that she would support ending the filibuster to pass voting rights and election reform bill H.R. 1, which the House passed on Wednesday.
“I would get rid of the filibuster,” Klobuchar told Mother Jones. “I have favored filibuster reform for a long time and now especially for this critical election bill.”