Eli Zupnick of Fix Our Senate: “Just as Democrats recognized in 2013 that there was no way to make progress on nominations without addressing the filibuster, they must now recognize there is no way to make progress on voting rights and democracy bills without again doing the same.”
WASHINGTON, DC — This weekend marked the eight-year anniversary of Senate Democrats’ November 2013 filibuster reforms. Then, in response to Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction and refusal to allow up-or-down votes on judicial and executive branch nominees, Senate Democrats addressed the filibuster and delivered progress.
Their example should be a call to action for Democrats today, when Senate Republicans are abusing the filibuster to block deliberation and passage of urgently needed voting rights and democracy legislation. The two most powerful Democratic elected officials from the 2013 reform era, former President Barack Obama and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), have been outspoken in calling on today’s Senate Democrats to again address the filibuster to deliver progress.
- President Barack Obama: President Obama stated at the time of the 2013 filibuster reform, “Today’s pattern of obstruction, it just isn’t normal. It’s not what our founders envisioned. A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations we can’t let it become normal.” More recently, at the 2020 funeral of John Lewis, President Obama stated, “You want to honor John? Let's honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for … Naming it the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — that is a fine tribute. But John wouldn't want us to stop there … And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that's what we should do.”
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at the time of the 2013 filibuster reform, “There has been unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction. The Senate is a living thing, and to survive it must change as it has over the history of this great country. To the average American, adapting the rules to make the Senate work again is just common sense.” More recently, in a September 2021 op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun, Senate Majority Leader Reid wrote, “The sanctity of the Senate is not the filibuster. The sanctity of the Senate — in government as a whole — is the power it holds to better the lives of and protect the rights of the American people. We need to get the Senate working again. It’s time Senate Democrats act with the urgency that this moment demands and abolish the filibuster once and for all.”
Eli Zupnick, spokesperson for Fix Our Senate, said in reflection:
“Just as Democrats recognized in 2013 that there was no way to make progress on nominations without addressing the filibuster, they must now recognize there is no way to make progress on voting rights and democracy bills without again doing the same.
"Every Democratic Senator supports federal voting rights and democracy-protecting legislation and has seen that Senator Mitch McConnell’s Republican caucus will keep abusing the filibuster to deny Americans’ rights and imperil the health of our democracy. We thank Senator Schumer and the Democratic caucus for their growing recognition that, once more, it’s time to address the filibuster to deliver progress.”