Biden says he supports return to 'talking filibuster'

President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE said for the first time Tuesday that he supports changing the Senate filibuster rules to bring back the so-called talking filibuster, a notable shift after the White House insisted that his preference was to not make changes.

Biden during an interview with ABC News anchor George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosFauci: 'Other countries need to chip in' to help India Harris: I don't think America is a racist country, but we need to speak truth about history Biden meets with TV anchors ahead of joint address MORE said he endorses reforming the filibuster by returning to the tradition of talking filibusters — when senators needed to be on the floor talking to block bills — because “democracy is having a hard time functioning.”

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


“You’ve got to work for the filibuster,” Biden said. “It is almost getting to the point where democracy is having a hard time functioning.”

Biden noted that he didn’t think the Senate needed to get rid of the filibuster. Still, his remarks Tuesday will be well-received by Democrats who have been pushing for reform and will increase momentum behind such a change. 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiFrench police deploy tear gas on protestors supporting Palestinians in Paris White House says safety of journalists is 'paramount' after Gaza building bombed Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions MORE told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden’s “preference” is “not to make changes” to the filibuster, but she didn’t rule it out.

“He is also open to hearing ideas. And those discussions will happen in Congress. This is, of course, a Senate rule. It’s not a law that he would change or sign into law,” Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Democrats need 60 votes in order to cut off debate on most pieces of legislation in the Senate, meaning that the filibuster stands as a major obstacle for Biden in accomplishing his legislative agenda given the 50-50 makeup of the upper chamber.


Democrats used the special budget reconciliation process to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill without Republican support earlier this month.

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw Police reform talks hit familiar stumbling block MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, sharply rebuked the filibuster on Monday, arguing, like Biden, that it was harming democracy.

“The filibuster is still making a mockery of American democracy. The filibuster is still being misused by some senators to block legislation urgently needed and supported by a strong majority of the American people,” Durbin said in a floor speech.

Biden’s remarks to ABC came the same day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWashington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ky.) warned Democrats against changing the filibuster rules.

“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. "I want our colleagues to imagine a world where every single task, every one of them, requires a physical quorum.”

Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Jill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaDC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw Biden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure MORE (D-Ariz.) do not support doing away with the filibuster altogether, meaning that Democrats would not have the votes to do so. However, Manchin has previously suggested he may be open to reverting back to the talking filibuster.