Obama: Senate Needs to Change ‘How a Filibuster Works’
President Barack Obama endorsed more changes to the filibuster rules in the Senate in a speech Wednesday, remarks that will encourage senators who want to deploy the “nuclear option” again.
At a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York, Obama said Democrats need to change “how a filibuster works,” without going into specifics.
Some Democrats want to force talking filibusters, requiring senators to be on the floor around the clock if cloture is not invoked. Others want to reduce or eliminate the 60-vote threshold for overcoming a filibuster on legislation, as the Democrats did last year for nominations other than Supreme Court picks. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has recently been considering if he went far enough in changing the rules given the GOP’s procedural retaliation, which has chewed up weeks of floor time.
Obama made the comment as he was encouraging donors at a fund-raiser in New York to have a sense of urgency about beating Republicans at the ballot box in November. Here’s the full context from the transcript:
“So my main message is one of hope. We’ve got all the ingredients to make this the American Century, just like the last one. To achieve it, though, we’ve got to make sure our political system works better. And, yes, there are all kinds of reforms that we need to do, from campaign finance to how a filibuster works, to going after Republicans hard when their main political agenda when it comes to — or main election strategy is preventing people from voting — we’ve got to push back on all that stuff. But ultimately, there are enough voters out there to deliver if we can turn them out.
And that’s what the DSCC is all about. That’s their priority. That’s my priority. And I hope it becomes yours as well. Thanks.”