Ahead of Wednesday's expected vote on the Freedom to Vote Act, democracy leaders and filibuster experts today hosted a call to answer questions and offer thoughts on the impending filibuster of the legislation. Throughout the call, the groups discussed the need for President Biden and Senate Democrats to move quickly after the vote to address the filibuster that will prevent any democracy-protecting legislation from moving through the Senate.
“Republican-led legislatures across the country have spent the last year advancing hundreds of some of the worst, most racist voter suppression laws since Jim Crow, all with the goal of hoarding power they cannot secure through normal electoral means. And they won’t stop until Congress does something about it,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, Director of Democracy Policy at Indivisible. “The Freedom to Vote Act is that something. There is no reason why this bill should not pass tomorrow, but it won’t, because the minority party doesn’t want it to. Enough is enough. The filibuster has done nothing but erode our democracy and lead us into minority rule. Senate Democrats must use the majority voters gave them, eliminate the filibuster, and protect our democracy before it’s too late.”
“What we're going to see tomorrow is not a great debate on the floor of the Senate, it will be the exact opposite. We will see a bill get brought up and shut down before it is even debated," said Adam Jentleson, Founder of Battle Born Collective and Author of Kill Switch. “Filibuster defenders like to say they don’t want to see the Senate become the House, but at least the House was able to debate a voting rights bill, while the Senate cannot even manage that. Reforming the filibuster is not some radical idea. It is something that needs to be done for the health of the Senate and the good of the country.”
“After tomorrow Senate Democrats face a choice, clearer than ever: Protect our democracy, or protect the outdated and abused Senate filibuster,” said Eli Zupnick, Spokesperson for Fix Our Senate and former Senate staffer. “Senate Democrats can have the filibuster or they can defend our democracy – there is no third option – and we’re running out of time.”
“President Biden has previously said that he’s open to filibuster reform, including a talking filibuster. Senator Manchin has said that he’s willing to consider a talking filibuster as well. It’s time to act on those reforms and stop allowing a Republican minority to have veto power over voting rights,” said Sean Eldridge, President at Stand Up America. “In a moment when the Senate is on the verge of passing a transformational budget with 50 votes, it is indefensible to demand 60 votes to protect our freedom to vote. If a majority vote is good enough for action on health care, on climate, and on our economy, it should be enough to protect our freedom to vote.”