Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperNearly 200 Democrats back EPA in Supreme Court emissions case Bottom line Biden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures MORE (D-Del.) announced on Thursday that he supports nixing the filibuster on voting rights legislation, marking the latest Senate Democrat to back changing the upper chamber's rules.
“I do not come to this decision lightly, but it has become clear to me that if the filibuster is standing in the way of protecting our democracy then the filibuster isn’t working for our democracy," Carper said in a statement.
“No barrier – not even the filibuster – should stand in the way of our sacred obligation to protect our democracy," he added.
Carper's statement comes a day after Republicans blocked Democrats from taking up legislation named after the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisTrump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time Despite Senate setbacks, the fight for voting rights is far from over MORE (D-Ga.) to strengthen the Voting Rights Act. Republicans have also blocked more sweeping election reform bills this year.
Currently, most legislation requires 60 votes, meaning the support of at least 10 GOP senators, to be brought up for debate on the Senate floor.
"I cannot look the other way if total obstruction continues as it did yesterday with this bipartisan legislation," Carper said.
Outside groups have pushed Democrats for months to get rid of the 60-vote filibuster or reform it for certain bills. And Senate Democrats are increasingly supportive of nixing the filibuster for voting rights legislation by creating a "carve-out" from the Senate rules, while keeping the 60-vote hurdle in place for other bills.
Carper is a close ally of President BidenJoe BidenDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors On The Money — Vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses nixed Warner tests positive for breakthrough COVID-19 case MORE, who suggested during a CNN town hall last month that he was open to changing the filibuster for voting rights.
But Democrats don't currently have the votes within the caucus to nix the filibuster for voting rights legislation or get rid of the 60-vote hurdle altogether.
Sens. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaGallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration The Armageddon elections to come MORE (D-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden to meet with CEOs to discuss Build Back Better agenda Hoyer says 'significant' version of Build Back Better will pass this year Gallego went to New York to meet Sinema donors amid talk of primary challenge: report MORE (D-W.Va.) are both opposed to getting rid of the filibuster, and Manchin has specifically said he doesn't support the idea of a carve-out from the Senate rule for specific issues.
To change the Senate's legislative filibuster, Democrats would need total unity from all 50 of their members.
Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) hinted at filibuster reform, without directly mentioning the Senate rule, during a floor speech on Wednesday.
"Just because Republicans will not join us doesn't mean Democrats will stop fighting. This is too important. We will continue to fight for voting rights and find an alternative path forward, even if it means going it alone," Schumer said.
Schumer also met on Wednesday with Sens. Angus KingAngus KingThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE (I-Maine), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size MORE (D-Va.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterConservative group rolls out .5 million ad buy pressuring Manchin, Tester to oppose Build Back Better The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time MORE (D-Mont.) and "strategized" with them about having "family discussions" within the caucus about "specific ways to 'restore the Senate' " to find a path forward on voting rights legislation, a senior Democratic aide told The Hill.