Carper comes out in support of nixing filibuster on voting rights

Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  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.

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Carper's statement comes a day after Republicans blocked Democrats from taking up legislation named after the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Democratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills With extreme gerrymanders locking in, Biden needs to make democracy preservation job one 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 BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE, who suggested during a CNN town hall last month that he was open to changing the filibuster for voting rights.

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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 SinemaBiden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 This week: Congress poised to go into December overtime MORE (D-Ariz.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Overnight Health Care — Biden touts drug price push Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote 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 SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states  Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote 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 KingAmazon, Facebook, other large firms would pay more under proposed minimum tax, Warren's office says Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices MORE (I-Maine), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill Menendez jabs State official over Colombian group's terror designation MORE (D-Va.) and Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill 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.