Martin Luther King III at the March On for Voting Rights: “Our country is backsliding to the unconscionable days of Jim Crow, and some of our senators are saying, ‘well we can’t overcome the filibuster.’ Then I say to you today: get rid of the filibuster!”
Eli Zupnick: “These leading voices are joined by tens of thousands of other Americans who understand why it’s so essential to finally eliminate the filibuster as a weapon Sen. Mitch McConnell can use to keep our democracy rigged.”
WASHINGTON, DC — From powerful speakers at Saturday’s March On for Voting Rights to leading observers on the nation’s opinion pages, leading voices are escalating their calls for Senate Democrats to reform the filibuster to pass federal voting rights and democracy legislation.
Key speakers at Saturday’s The March On for Voting Rights - organized by the Drum Major Institute, March On, the National Action Network, Future Coalition, SEIU, and 51 for 51 with support from nearly 200 partner organizations - included a focus on the filibuster in their remarks, including:
- Drum Major Institute Chairman Martin Luther King III at the March On for Voting Rights: “Our country is backsliding to the unconscionable days of Jim Crow, and some of our senators are saying, ‘well we can’t overcome the filibuster.’ Then I say to you today: get rid of the filibuster! That is the monument to slavery we must dismantle. That is the monument to white supremacy we must tear down.”
- Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17) at the March On for Voting Rights: “If we fail to act in this moment we are on a path by which democracy dies in darkness ... power concedes nothing without a demand. I am here to tell you that is why you are here today, to demand that President Biden call on the Senate to abolish the filibuster and pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.”
- Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL-07) at the March On for Voting Rights: “It’s not ok to say that you stand on the shoulders of these amazing heroes and heroines, and not do your own work. So here we are, marching to do our own work ... We need to make sure that the Senators know that we will not stand by idly and let them just filibuster H.R.4. Too much is at stake. Federal protections must be restored and the only way we can do that is pass H.R.4."
Meanwhile, opinion writers, columnists, and labor leaders have been highlighting how the filibuster stands in the way of essential voting, democracy, and other reforms and calling on Democrats, including President Biden, to address and reform the filibuster to deliver. Key voices include:
- Adam Jentleson New York Times op-ed, “When Will Biden Join the Fight for Voting Rights?”: “...at the end of the day, it is up to Mr. Biden to bring home the small number of votes needed to end the tiered system that forces voting rights legislation to garner supermajorities in the Senate, while other bills sail through with just 50 votes. The task at hand for Mr. Biden is difficult, but not unattainable … And yet it is impossible to look at the effort Mr. Biden has devoted to voting rights until now and conclude that he is pulling out all the stops… Instead of pressing for the reforms necessary to pass these bills with 50 votes, he has defended the filibuster, while his administration has been challenging civil rights leaders to “out-organize” the Republicans who have implemented systematic, state-sanctioned voter suppression … The president may try everything and fail. But the stakes are so high, he has to try.”
- E.J. Dionne syndicated Washington Post column, “Advancing democracy abroad requires defending it at home”: “...democracy is about more than free elections. It entails both freedom and equality; open debate and an insistence that ‘people cannot have license to undermine the standing of their fellow citizens as free and equal members of the polity.’ This last point needs to be on the minds of U.S. senators as they contemplate the epic battle over voting rights and the filibuster that will confront them next month. Our post-Afghanistan debates over U.S. responsibility for democracy in the world will be mere bluster if we allow it to be undermined at home.”
- Greg Sargent column in Washington Post, “How to prevent the next Jan. 6, as revealed in an important new analysis”: “... there is a critical way Congress can minimize the possibility of another Jan. 6 — by addressing glaring legal vulnerabilities in the presidential electoral process that encouraged Donald Trump’s movement to try to overturn his loss, creating the conditions for the worst outbreak of U.S. political violence in recent times. We’re talking about revising the Electoral Count Act (ECA) of 1887. That may sound dry and unexciting, but it would shore up hidden weaknesses that made the 2020 breakdown possible … As for Democrats, if few or no GOP lawmakers are willing to support such reforms, they have the option of acting alone. Democrats can’t possibly want a scenario in which they end up failing to fix the ECA because they’re unwilling to end the Senate filibuster, and something like this happens again — and succeeds. Can they?”
- AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler at Christian Science Monitor breakfast: As The Hill recapped, Shuler highlighted potential electoral consequences for a failure to deliver on priorities, noting: “Workers want to hold elected officials accountable on an agenda that they voted for. Right now that agenda is being blocked by arcane rules in the Senate. We believe that voters will take that into consideration for the next election … Elected officials, if they’re not listening, that’s when elections end up having consequences.”
According to Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Fix Our Senate:
“These leading voices are joined by tens of thousands of other Americans who understand why it’s so essential to finally eliminate the filibuster as a weapon Sen. Mitch McConnell can use to keep our democracy rigged. Attacks on our democracy can’t be ‘out-organized.’
Senate Democrats should quickly return to Washington with a plan to finally address the filibuster. And President Biden should jump into this fight and push Senate Democrats to pass voting rights and democracy legislation before it’s too late.”