Sen. Angus King Hints That Changes Are Coming To The Filibuster

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said while discussing the new voting rights bill that he thinks changes are coming to the filibuster.

Sen. King Believes Changes Are Coming To The Filibuster

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Sen. King said on MSNBC’s Deadline: White House:

Everybody is onboard in the caucus with this bill, including two Independents, myself and Bernie. So the question is what will we do next? Jeff Merkley from Oregon has really done an enormous amount of work on this, trying to find ways to modify the filibuster in such a way, for example, to make people talk. 

The public has an impression that the filibuster, you go and you’ve got to hold the floor for hours and hours and hours. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. That’s not true anymore. It’s too damn easy.  A senator can phone it in. I am opposed. I will filibuster. Okay, requires 60 votes. So one of the options is to make it er and make the people who want to block things hold the floor and make their argument to the American people. There are a lot of other possibilities. 

Instead of requiring 60 votes to go ahead, you require 40 votes to stop. That means they have to show up. So as I say, there are going to be lots of discussions. I believe, Nicolle, that you’re going to see some changes in the filibuster as a result not of what the Democrats and the Democratic caucus want to do but because the Republicans won’t even discuss the issue. 

Democrats Had To Get Behind A Single Bill Before They Could Change The Filibuster For Voting Rights

Momentum is growing inside the White House for changing the filibuster. Democrats had to get behind a single voting rights bill before the filibuster conversation could move forward because if Democrats don’t have 50 votes for a bill, it doesn’t matter what they do with the filibuster.

It took Harry Reid almost a year as Majority Leader to get the filibuster rules changed for judicial nominees. It takes time to get these changes done. One can argue that it shouldn’t, but that is not the world that we live in.

Democrats will vote next week on the Freedom to Vote Act. Republicans will block it, and then the door is open for changing the filibuster, even if it is a very narrow change just for a voting rights bill, one suspects that Sen. King is right.

After the Democratic holdouts are left with no other choice, changes will come to the filibuster.