Clyburn knocks Sinema for backing filibuster in light of potential GOP majority
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday said Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s reason for defending the filibuster is “not right,” after the Arizona Democrat said she wants to keep the legislative hurdle intact to protect a potential GOP majority from enacting sweeping change in the future.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” co-anchor Jake Tapper asked Clyburn for his thoughts on Sinema’s Thursday floor speech, in which the moderate senator reiterated her support for the 60-vote legislative filibuster, dealing a blow to Democrats and their hopes of passing voting rights reform.
Sinema in her floor speech said that “eliminating the 60-vote threshold will simply guarantee that we lose a critical tool that we need to safeguard our democracy from threats in the years to come,” a sentiment Clyburn quickly objected to.
Asked by Tapper if Sinema has a point that Democrats may need the filibuster down the road if the GOP takes control of the upper chamber and tries to impose stricter voting restrictions, Clyburn said, “No, she is not right about that.”
He said the caucus is not looking to eliminate the filibuster entirely and emphasized the importance of nixing the rule for election reform.
“When it comes to the Constitution of the United States of America, no one person sitting downtown in a spa ought to be able to pick up the telephone and say you are going to put a hold on my ability to vote. And that’s what is going on here,” Clyburn said.
“So, I would wish they would stop that foolishness because if we do not protect the vote with everything that we’ve got, we will not have a country to protect going forward,” he added.
The Senate is set to take up voting rights legislation on Tuesday, after Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced that they will not move to change the filibuster in order to vote for voting rights, which dampened the caucus’s chances of nixing the hurdle. Democrats were looking to change Senate rules amid GOP opposition to election reform, a move President Biden said last week he would support.
Clyburn on Sunday reiterated the importance of passing voting rights legislation following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and as state governments continue to pass legislation that some say restricts access to voting.
“I don’t know where we got the notion from that this democracy is here to stay no matter how we conduct ourselves,” Clyburn said.
“Our job when we took the oath — we took the oath of office to protect this country from all enemies foreign and domestic. There are some domestic enemies that showed up on Jan. 6, and they didn’t stop there. They’re still going on,” he added.
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