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'Existential moment for our country': Cori Bush leads 90+ Dems in calling for abolition of Senate filibuster
Congresswoman Cori Bush and nearly 100 other House Democrats on Thursday urged their Senate counterparts to immediately eliminate the legislative filibuster, an archaic rule standing in the way of D.C. statehood, a major expansion of voting rights, labor law reforms, and other key priorities.
"There is this old, outdated, racist rule called the filibuster that has been used to deny our basic human rights, especially to people who look like me," Bush (D-Mo.), a Black woman, said during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building. "When it comes to eliminating the filibuster, everything we love is at stake."
"It's D.C. statehood, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal legal and immigration reform, gun violence prevention, workers' rights—or it's the filibuster."
—Rep. Cori Bush
In a letter (pdf) to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Thursday morning, 98 House Democrats argue that "there is simply no avenue for bold legislation that meets the needs of everyday Americans without ending the filibuster," which the lawmakers describe as a "relic of Jim Crow-era policies."
"This is an existential moment for our country," the lawmakers write. "For too many people in our communities, their very survival is at stake. Republicans are well aware of this reality. It is why they are passing legislation at the state level across the country in an attempt to suppress the votes of Black, brown, and Indigenous people. It is also why they are preventing the Senate from advancing critical legislation that can meet the needs of the people we represent."
"We urge Senate Democrats to do what it takes to pass an agenda that meets the needs of everyday people, including eliminating the filibuster," the letter continues. "What has become patently clear is that we cannot let a procedural tool that can be abolished stand in the way of justice, prosperity, and equity. We simply cannot afford such a catastrophic compromise."
The letter was sent hours before the House—without the support of a single Republican—passed legislation that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st U.S. state and grant full congressional representation to the district's roughly 700,000 residents.
But as Bush noted on Twitter, the statehood bill is destined for the Senate's crowded legislative graveyard if Democrats allow the filibuster to remain intact.
"It's D.C. statehood, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal legal and immigration reform, gun violence prevention, workers' rights—or it's the filibuster," Bush wrote.
Senate Democrats can abolish or weaken the filibuster with a simple majority vote, meaning they would need the support of every member of the caucus and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Democratic senators who defend the filibuster are protecting a legacy of racism, and are choosing to let an outdated rule block progress that would begin to address the challenges facing Black communities across the country."
—Scott Roberts, Color of Change
But at least two conservative caucus members—Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—have been outspoken in their defense of the filibuster even as the rule hobbles their party's ability to pass its agenda and potentially puts Democrats at greater risk of losing control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
Scott Roberts, senior director of democracy and criminal justice for Color of Change, said in a statement Thursday that "Democratic senators who defend the filibuster are protecting a legacy of racism, and are choosing to let an outdated rule block progress that would begin to address the challenges facing Black communities across the country."
"Filibuster reform is critical for advancing racial justice," Roberts added.
In a report released earlier this week, advocacy group Fix Our Senate detailed how the legislative filibuster—which dates back to the early 19th century—became "the primary weapon used by racist, segregationist politicians to delay and restrict progress—primarily in the form of civil rights."
"The historical record is clear: there is a long and shameful history of segregationists and racists using the filibuster to block overdue progress on civil rights, voting rights, and other efforts to build a more inclusive democracy," said Fix Our Senate spokesperson Eli Zupnick. "Senators can protect the filibuster... or they can protect our democracy and the right to vote. They cannot do both."
How the GOP’s election conspiracy theories could end up hurting them in the 2022 midterms: columnist
There's an impending problem facing the Republican Party as the 2022 midterm election approach, their own voters don't believe that their votes matter. Global opinions contributor Brian Klass wrote in the Washington Post that this is setting the GOP up for disaster.
The conspiracy theories that the GOP manufactured resulted in 60 percent of Republican voters who still believe the 2020 election was "stolen" from former President Donald Trump. The polls also say that 55 percent of Republicans think that the 2020 election was full of voter fraud.
Republican states have ushered in a series of voter suppression bills that are the most likely to dampen votes of people of color. "Republicans don't care about the violent consequences of spreading lies about election fraud or torching faith in democratic institutions," said Klass. "But they might care once they understand that spreading baseless Trumpian conspiracy theories about voter fraud isn't just immoral and authoritarian. It's also politically idiotic."
He explained that he's seen what happens in other countries when one party attempts to suppress another. In the eventual "showdown" in Sri Lanka he said that some began to believe that voting was pointless. "Tamil leaders called for an election boycott," he recalled. "The hard-liner narrowly won — a victory that wouldn't have happened without the Tamils staying home. Over the next 3½ years, the hard-liner led military operations against militant Tamils, decimating them. The boycott had backfired."
That's what could happen in the case of the GOP. If their voters believe that there's no point in voting because the election will be fraudulent anyway.
"Because of the staying power of Trump's lies about election fraud within the Republican base, a split is likely to emerge in the GOP," explained Klass. "Next year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) will surely do everything he can to reassure his voter base that their votes will fully count in the midterms. He will (correctly) insist that the system is legitimate and encourage Republicans to get out and vote."
But already the Trump followers are being pitted against McConnell. Even the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project is playing this up with its own mockery of the ongoing feud.
Klass also noted that a form of it was already at play in Georgia by the time the special election rolled around. Trump supporters and sometimes legal advisers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood called for a boycott. McConnell was furious. Democrats won both races, changing the makeup of the U.S. Senate.
"We need to stop Republican lies about America's elections," he closed. "Republicans themselves seem unmoved by concerns that they're destroying faith in our democratic institutions. Perhaps they'll be more swayed once they understand they're also working against their own political self-interest."
Marjorie Taylor Greene: If AOC doesn't debate me, she's showing the world she's just 'a scared little girl that is pretty stupid'
In the latest episode of Marjorie Taylor Greene's seemingly one-sided feud with her fellow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Georgia GOP Rep. posted a video to social media calling out the "Squad" member, saying she took on her alleged challenge to read all 14 pages of the Green New Deal.
"We're going to debate ... she asked me if I'd even read her 14-page Green New Deal, I said I've read some of it," Greene said, recounting her alleged conversation with Ocasio-Cortez. "She said, 'Well, when you've read all of it, then you can challenge me to a debate. Well, the good news is I've read all 14 little pages and I'm very ready to debate her on the House floor."
This Wednesday, Greene posted a tweet showing a photo of her speaking with Ocasio-Cortez, claiming that the two agreed to a debate after she reads the entire contents of the Green New Deal.
"So this is what we're going to be doing -- the date hasn't been set, but when it is set, I'll let you know," Greene continued. "And she better show up. "If she chickens out, then she shows exactly who she really is, a scared little girl that is pretty stupid and doesn't know anything about the economy or economics."
Watch the video below, via Right Wing Watch:
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says that if @AOC doesn't accept her challenge to debate the Green New Deal, she'll be… https://t.co/CAHdVBtL10— Right Wing Watch (@Right Wing Watch)1619117800.0
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