Voters have made it clear: They are sick and tired of the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington.
The majority of Americans want President Biden and Congress to get us out of this pandemic, protect voting rights and our democracy, and make progress on the countless other challenges facing our nation.
Yet, with every minute that ticks by, Sen. Mitch McConnell and his Republican minority in the Senate — who represent nearly 42 million fewer Americans than the Senate Democratic Majority does — can abuse the filibuster to obstruct the will of the people time and time again and prevent popular bills from even getting an up or down vote.
We are a coalition of 63 organizations (and counting) representing millions of Americans fighting to eliminate the filibuster and fix the Senate so our elected officials can finally start delivering on their promises.
The filibuster is a Senate rule that allows any single Senator to block a bill from even getting an up-or-down vote unless a supermajority of 60 Senators votes to end debate. Throughout most of Senate history the filibuster was used by a minority of senators to block civil and voting rights legislation, but under Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell it has been weaponized to become a partisan tool that the minority can use to obstruct anything and everything.
Despite what you may hear, there is nothing in the Constitution or in the law that demands, or even encourages, the filibuster. In fact, the framers of our Constitution were explicitly concerned about legislative supermajority requirements and assumed that both the Senate and the House would operate with simple majorities.
The majority of people across the country support efforts to protect our democracy, end gun violence, raise the minimum wage, tackle the climate crisis, and more – but, the filibuster allows a minority of senators to block any progress at all. President Obama called the filibuster “a Jim Crow relic” that can’t be allowed to continue blocking the Voting Rights Act or other desperately-needed reforms, and he is absolutely right: the filibuster must be eliminated.
The rules of the Senate — including the filibuster — have changed before, and they can change again. We’re ramping up the pressure on our elected officials to ensure they know what’s at stake if Sen. McConnell and his minority can continue using the filibuster to create partisan gridlock and dysfunction.
Right now, Senate Democrats have a clear choice: They can either deliver on their promises to the American people, or protect the Jim Crow filibuster. They won’t be able to do both.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that in order to end partisan gridlock and pass critical voting rights legislation, the Senate filibuster must be eliminated. Rep. Maloney leads the House Democrats’ campaign arm and represents a swing district.
NBC News congressional reporter Julie Tsirkin reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) earlier today said:"100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration... 100% of my focus is on standing up to this administration."
The Hill reports that the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity organization is launching a new ad campaign in support of preserving the filibuster. It is no surprise that the Koch brothers and Senator Mitch McConnell are interested in preserving the ‘Jim Crow’ filibuster and wielding it to protect special interests and block critical progress on voting rights and democracy reforms included in the “For the People” Act” (S1).