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Multiple House Dems running for Senate in 2022 come out in support of nuking filibuster

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The filibuster is becoming a wedge issue for Democratic Senate hopefuls ahead of the 2022 midterms — as moderates are taken to task by the left-wing of the Democratic party on ramming through more legislation while Biden is in office.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, though Vice President Kamala Harris, as Senate president, has a tie-breaking vote. Still, 51 votes are not enough under current rules to break through the filibuster.

The legislative filibuster is the Senate rule requiring 60 members to end debate on most topics and move forward to a vote.

In this Congress, Democrats need 10 Republicans to move any major legislation forward, though they can bypass the filibuster through budget reconciliation on certain bills.

Tim Ryan
Tim Ryan is running to fill retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s seat next year.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Budget reconciliation would allow Democrats to pass spending for critical projects, but the process cannot be used to change or create laws.

As Republicans continue to block Democrats’ legislation in the upper chamber of Congress, every Democratic senator has shifted to supporting filibuster reform aside from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

A growing chorus of liberal candidates are supporting the idea of nuking the Senate rule as well.

President Joe Biden speaks outside the White House with a bipartisan group of senators after meeting on an infrastructure deal June 24, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden speaks outside the White House with a bipartisan group of senators after meeting on an infrastructure deal June 24, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Most recently, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who is running to fill retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) seat next year, came out in favor of the move.

“The Senate is absolutely broken,” Ryan told MSNBC late last month, after the body killed the House-passed partisan voting rights bill, bemoaning how “We couldn’t even get a compromise with Joe Manchin bringing another opportunity to vote for it.”

Noting how “China is breathing down our neck,” Ryan went on to say that the US has got to “meet the moment.”

Democratic Senator from Arizona Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten Sinema is one of two Democratic senators who have not shifted to supporting filibuster reform.
MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“I think the only way to do that and address these issues around voting rights is to get rid of the filibuster. It’s a must. And if we’re going to cut workers in on the deal,” he explained, “We’ve got to get rid of this archaic rule that is stopping us from making the progress we need to make.”

“I’m sorry it has come to this point, but we don’t have an honest broker on the other side and America can’t wait any longer,” he also told the network.

Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is hoping to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), hasn’t shied away from the topic since launching her Senate bid in early June.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) leaves a meeting of bipartisan Senators in the office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on Capitol Hill, June 22, 2021.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In an op-ed published by USA Today on Sunday, Demings called the Senate rule a threat to “the freedoms of every American, no matter the color of your skin, your gender, ZIP code, political party, or how much money you have (or don’t have) in the bank.”

“The filibuster doesn’t just mean a minority of senators can block critical legislation on everything from voting rights to the minimum wage,” she wrote, “The filibuster undermines the basic principle that makes our democracy work: government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel shortly after launching her Senate bid, Demings said the filibuster had “been used as a partisan weapon for decades,” while arguing to abolish it.

Senate side of the Capitol
Senate Democrats must decide whether they should change or eliminate the rules of the filibuster.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“We were not elected to be obstructionists,” she continued, “We were elected to get things done. And when we talk about protecting some of the most basic rights in this country, the filibuster blocks those things, and we need to get rid of it.”

Democratic Senate hopefuls running in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin have also begun speaking out in favor of filibuster reform, though in those states they face heated primaries where an outcome is unclear this far in advance.

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