President Biden on Wednesday night defended the filibuster, a procedural tactic that stands to hold up much of his agenda in the Senate, even as he reiterated that he viewed it as a relic of Jim Crow.
“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done,” he said at a CNN Town Hall in Cincinnati. “Nothing at all will get done.”
Mr. Biden said there was too much at stake to risk that level of “chaos” that a fight over the filibuster would ignite, including voting rights legislation he still wants to see passed. He also said waging a war against the filibuster would play into the hands of Republicans seeking to hold up his agenda. “Wouldn’t my friends on the other side love to have a debate about the filibuster instead of passing the Recovery Act?” he said.
At his first news conference as president last March, Mr. Biden thrilled progressives who want to change the rules governing the Senate’s signature procedural weapon that require a 60-vote supermajority to advance a bill. Mr. Biden said the filibuster was “being abused in a gigantic way.”