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House Majority Whip James Clyburn continues his push for his party to counter Republican voter suppression tactics by urging President Joe Biden to “endorse” the idea of creating a carveout to the legislative filibuster.
In an interview Saturday with Politico, the Democratic South Carolina congressman said Biden could help rally the support of Democratic senators who are against making changes to filibuster rules, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
Clyburn said the president could “pick up the phone and tell Joe Manchin, ‘Hey, we should do a carve-out.’” He added, “I don’t care whether he does it in a microphone or on the telephone — just do it.”
The filibuster, which has been criticized as a “Jim Crow relic,” requires 60 votes in the Senate just to bring a bill to the floor. A “carveout” is a rules changer providing that any legislation that concerns elections or voting rights is not subject to the filibuster rule but can be brought to the floor by a simple majority. This particular carveout would refer to voting rights legislation, but it has been used in the past for presidential appointments.
Clyburn made it clear that if election reform — in the form of two voting rights bills currently before Congress — doesn’t get signed into law by President Biden, “Democrats can kiss the majority goodbye.”
“I can see in a state like Georgia — where people stepped up in January in a way nobody thought they ever would — I can see the disappointment in the voters to the extent that [Sen. Rafael] Warnock would not be back,” the longtime representative added, referring to Rev. Raphael Warnock’s historic election at the Peach State’s first Black senator.
Legislators and voting rights advocates are offering more dire warnings about not just the fate of the Democratic majority, but the future of America’s democracy if Republican-led states are allowed to continue to pass restrictive voter laws that disproportionately affect minorities.
In the same report, Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean noted that there is a “legislative fix” to get the bills passed, referring to the carveout. “I hope the president will do that — as I said, I think the filibuster should be removed unless it was actually used for debate that furthers conversation about things,” she maintained. “But I hope the president will lead on this.”
President Biden is expected to speak in Dean’s state tomorrow, where he will emphasize the need for Americans to protect the “sacred, constitutional right to vote.” Republicans in Pennsylvania are pushing for another unwarranted audit of the 2020 presidential election.
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