It doesn’t get a lot of attention, but the Democrats made it clear last week that they are giving Republicans an ultimatum to the Senate legislative filibuster: give them what they want on politics or they’ll blow the 60- Vote rule and claim the Republicans made them do it.
President Biden tiptoeed around the threat at his press conference Thursday advocating a “talking filibuster,” which is a minor change, but anyone who listens heard it. “We’re going to get a lot done,” he said. “And if we have to – if there is total lockdown and chaos as a result of the filibuster, we have to go beyond what I am talking about.”
Mr Biden seems to equate the GOP’s opposition to democratic legislation to “total lockdown and chaos”, as if those words had ever been used to describe the permanent Senate. However, be aware of the implicit warning. If the Republicans don’t follow its priorities, breaking the filibuster is justified.
Senate Democrats also outlined that strategy through a statement by Maine Sen. Angus King in the Washington Post earlier this week.
“When we (hardly) enter this new Congress with a new President and a new Senate majority, the question for me is how [Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues will play their hand; If they are willing to compromise and find consensus on important initiatives (e.g. infrastructure, voting rights or immigration reform), the importance of abolishing filibusters diminishes, ”King wrote. “On the other hand, if they just say no, the need – and likelihood – of filibuster reform would only increase. That said, the result is largely in their hands. “