Biden Seeks To Avoid Filibuster In The Senate To Vote On Abortion

Biden and the ruling against abortion: “We have to codify Roe vs. Wade into law” 0:49

(WABNEWS) — US President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would support making an exception to the “filibustering” rules — the 60-vote threshold in the Senate to end discussion and move to a vote. of most laws – to codify the right to abortion and the right to privacy through legislation passed by Congress.

Yet despite Biden’s newly announced support for the filibustering exception, his best bet to do so would be next year, and only if Democrats win at least two Senate seats and keep the House, a task extremely difficult.

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Asked what executive action he would use to enforce the right to abortion following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe vs. Wade, last week Biden said, “Most importantly… we have to change… I think we have to codify Roe vs. Wade into law.”

“And the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do it. And if filibustering gets in the way, it’s like the right to vote…it should be [que] Let’s provide an exception to this … requiring a filibuster exception for this action to address the Supreme Court’s decision,” he added.

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The president then clarified that he was also open to changing the rules of filibustering for the “right to privacy, not just the right to abortion.”

It’s a tough call from a president who has so far been reluctant to push through any changes to the Senate rules, despite calls from progressives to remove the filibuster altogether in order to pass his agenda. Biden had told WABNEWS’s Anderson Cooper, at a citizen forum last year, that he would be open to changing the rules with filibustering to pass voting rights legislation “and maybe more.” His comments on Thursday mark the first time he has expressed his full willingness to remove stonewalling specifically for abortion rights.

The Senate does not have the 60 votes needed to codify Roe v. Wade under current rules. Key moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have voiced opposition to changing the filibustering rules.

Manchin is open to legislative codification of Roe v. Wade, but on Thursday, Sinema’s office reiterated that the senator remains opposed to removing obstructionism on any issue, including reproductive rights.

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Sinema’s office noted a Washington Post op-edwhich the senator wrote last year, in which she argued that the filibuster has been used to protect abortion rights and block things like the 20-week abortion ban.

So far there has been no indication that either senator will change his opposition to lowering the 60-vote threshold in the legislation, fearing that doing so would have long-term damaging repercussions for the country. So, without the support of Manchin or Sinema, the Democrats would have to sweep the November election — when their party faces the bleakest midterm election environment in a dozen years — to pass legislation on the right to abortion.

Despite low poll numbers and dim prospects for maintaining the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the White House sees a path to win Senate seats and increase its narrow majority.

Keeping their current seats and adding at least two new Democratic senators could, in theory, pave the way to securing votes for a rule change in the Senate.

Biden’s call dovetails with White House efforts to heighten urgency ahead of the midterm elections, and comes as national Democrats have increasingly raised concerns that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough. to address and fight the Supreme Court decision.

The behavior of the Supreme Court is “destabilizing”

Biden, following a series of summits with world leaders in Europe, has broadly refuted characterizations that the United States is going backwards. But he admitted that the Supreme Court’s pushback on abortion rights and privacy rights has been “destabilizing.”

“We have been leaders in the world in terms of personal rights and privacy. And it is a mistake, in my opinion, for the Supreme Court to do what it did,” he said.

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The president also defended his ability to effectively convey the Democrats’ message on abortion, despite his complicated history on the issue, telling progressive members of his party that they had few options on this issue.

“I’m the only president they have,” he said.

Some Democrats have criticized Biden for not speaking up more loudly on protecting abortion rights. Since the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade, some have complained that he is not willing to go far enough in protecting access to abortion.

But Biden said he was the one in the White House.

“I am the president of the United States of America,” he said. “That makes me the best messenger.”

He called the abortion ruling “a serious, very serious issue that the Court has thrown at the United States,” linking the decision to other potential issues such as marriage rights.

“I am convinced that I am going to do everything in my power, what I can legally do in terms of decrees,” he said.

During Thursday’s press conference, the president said he would meet with the governors on Friday to discuss abortion-related issues and that he would have “announcements to make then.”

With information from Manu Raju and Lauren Fox.

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