On Thursday night at a CNN town hall, President Joe Biden was asked whether he supports reforming or abolishing the Senate filibuster — which would be necessary to pass a number of Democratic priorities like a new voting rights bill. He gave a careful answer explaining that, at least for now, there is a key reason why he can't come out in support of it.
"Here is the deal, if, in fact, I get myself into at this moment the debate on the filibuster, I lose at least three votes right now to get what I have to get done on the economic side of the equation, foreign policy side of the equation," said Biden. Presumably he was referring to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), although he didn't specify who the third senator is.
He added that "in the meantime" he would support going back to a talking filibuster, where "you had to stand on the floor and exhaust everything you had and when you gave up the floor and someone else sought the floor, they had to talk until they finished. You're only allowed to do it a second time. After that, it's over. You vote."
Asked whether this means Biden would be open to more aggressively pushing filibuster reform after the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act pass, Biden avoided making a hard commitment either way.
"That remains to be seen exactly what that means in terms of fundamentally altering it, whether or not we just end the filibuster straight up," said Biden, adding that one area where Democrats might be forced to reform the filibuster is on passing an extension of the debt ceiling in December: "There are certain things that are just sacred rights. One is the sacred obligation that we never are going to renege on a debt. Only nation in the world we have never, ever, reneged on a single debt."
Biden discusses his position on abolishing the filibuster at CNN town hall www.youtube.com