Press release

“We Just Will Get Nowhere If We Keep This Filibuster in Place” - Leading Voices and Fix Our Senate Amp Up Pressure

Fix Our Senate

Former Majority Leader Harry Reid: “It’s time Senate Democrats act with the urgency that this moment demands and abolish the filibuster once and for all.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar: “Now and over the next years, we just will get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place."

Fix Our Senate: “...we know that the only way this can get done is if the White House gets engaged and applies pressure.”

WASHINGTON, DC Leading voices and advocates, including Fix Our Senate, are highlighting how the filibuster stands in the way of important priorities, such as codifying reproductive rights, enacting pro-worker legislation, and delivering on federal voting and democracy legislation. As the Senate prepares to return to its work session, these voices are raising the alarm about the urgency of action and calling on the Biden administration and Democrats to finally address the filibuster to protect rights and deliver progress.

Leading voices ramping up pressure for filibuster reform include:

  • Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in new Las Vegas Sun op-ed: “Just as he did in President Obama’s first term with nominations, Mitch McConnell and his fellow far-right Republicans are again making clear that they will stop at nothing to steamroll Democratic priorities — even when it means grinding the Senate’s proceedings to a halt. 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.”
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on CNN: “Now and over the next years, we just will get nowhere if we keep this filibuster in place … I do not believe an archaic rule should be used to allow us to put our heads in the sand -- to use Justice (Sonia) Sotomayor's words -- to put our heads in the sand and not take action on the important issues."
  • Washington Post editorial, The John Lewis Act would restore key voting protections. Democrats should fight for it: “Democrats should not give up on the John Lewis Act … If Republicans continue to unify against it, they should consider ways to reform the filibuster rule blocking urgent democracy reform.”
  • Amanda Marcotte Salon column, Texas abortion ban should wake Democrats up: A dystopian hellscape awaits without filibuster reform: “Republicans don't like talking about their unpopular views on reproductive rights ... They believe that they've successfully engineered it so that the will of the voters doesn't matter anymore … That the filibuster is the problem is obvious in the most immediate sense … But really, the problem is much broader than that … Unless Manchin and Sinema wise up really fast, and allow bills like the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to pass, Republicans on the state level will be able to use tactics like gerrymandering, voter suppression, and outright election tampering to make sure that the will of the American majority has no impact on who is actually holding power in this country.”
  • Eric Levitz in New York Magazine, The Time for Democrats to Go Nuclear Was Yesterday: “In sum, an openly anti-democratic political movement has secured control of the judiciary and is using it to abet flagrant violations of constitutional rights. It is simultaneously passing voter-restriction laws, and giving partisan actors greater control over election administration, in states across the country … the Democratic Party’s inability to wield power with the fervor of its opponents has placed our republic in needless jeopardy. The time to go nuclear was yesterday. If Democrats don’t press that button soon, we’ll reap the fallout tomorrow.”
  • Washington Post op-ed by Emily DiVito and Suzanne Kahn of Roosevelt Institute, The filibuster has long hurt American workers too: “For over a century, the filibuster has been wielded to block legislation that would make our economy and politics more democratic … The filibuster’s antilabor history should be understood as part of the story of how this procedural rule has undermined American democracy and fostered inequality for decades.”
  • Adam Jentleson of Battle Born Collective in Talking Points Memo article by Kate Riga: “It’s not clear to me that Biden has decided he’s willing to reform the filibuster. Or at least, he’s still suspended in this in-between space where he kinda thinks it’s maybe necessary, but is also willing to throw up his hands and say ‘Manchin and Sinema say I can’t do it so I can’t do it,’ instead of rolling up his sleeves to get them to yes.”

Recent Fix Our Senate activity and attention includes:

  • Eli Zupnick of Fix Our Senate in The Hill article by Brett Samuels, White House says ball is in Congress's court on voting rights, abortion: “We saw very clearly with infrastructure what it looks like when President Biden and his administration truly care about getting something done. They go to the Hill. They engage. They reach out. They have meetings. They have phone calls. They apply pressure … we know that the only way this can get done is if the White House gets engaged and applies pressure.”
  • Fix Our Senate and 100+ organizations send letter to Senate Democrats, lifted up by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post: “...a large coalition of progressive groups is releasing a new letter to Senate Democrats ... Its stark message: You must choose between protecting the filibuster on one side, and protecting democracy and voting rights on the other … ‘No amount of citizen engagement and organizing can overcome this harsh reality: if the filibuster is left intact, Republicans will continue to weaponize it,’ the letter says. That’s some particularly bitter medicine: The filibuster will enable GOP counter-majoritarian tactics to prevail even if Democrats out-organize the opposition.”
  • Eli Zupnick of Fix Our Senate in The Daily Beast article by Sam Brodey, Nuking Filibuster Only Way to Save Abortion Rights, Democrats Say: “What the Supreme Court did was put this very high on the list for advocates as an example to point to of how egregious the filibuster is, and the need to reform it. This is a very clear wake-up call on an issue that the vast majority of the country stands with Democrats on … The choice is to do absolutely nothing and let the court and states erode reproductive rights, or do something.”
  • Eli Zupnick of Fix Our Senate in Talking Points Memo coverage by Kate Riga: “I have believed throughout that if President Biden wants to get this done, he can … But if he doesn’t prioritize it and use the bully pulpit and his political capital to protect democracy, then it very likely won’t happen.”
  • Fix Our Senate expansion highlighted by Paul Blumenthal in HuffPost:The largest filibuster reform coalition is adding 20 new groups to its membership and expanding an ongoing seven-figure ad buy as the Senate prepares to return from its summer recess for the long-anticipated showdown over voting rights legislation and the chamber’s filibuster rules … The groups, added to the 60 already in the coalition, will bring additional resources and membership rolls to bear in the campaign to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority vote ...‘We are going to be able to show senators and the Biden administration that this isn’t going away,’ Eli Zupnick, spokesman for Fix Our Senate, said. ‘If anyone thinks they can just wait this out and advocates and people around the country will just move on and get distracted by other things, we want to make it clear that that’s not going to happen.’”