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Harry Reid tries to inject some urgency into current leadership on the filibuster

Reid shows his former colleagues no mercy, describing the filibuster as a “a tool that empowered an entrenched minority of senators to block anti-lynching, voting rights and other civil rights measures throughout the Jim Crow era.” Now, he writes, the “heirs to their despicable legacy are the Republicans in today’s Senate who view any efforts to expand or protect civil rights with disdain.”

Speaking of Jim Crow and voting rights, here’s President Biden.

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This is an “all-out assault on our democracy.” It’s been going on for a while now. And yes, “We need to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect the sacred right to vote.” And yes, Congress needs to send those bills to Biden immediately. But we all know why they haven’t, since half of Congress—the House—already passed them and the other half—the Senate—won’t because of the filibuster.

Tweeting about it is fine. It is also woefully insufficient to making it actually happen. The filibuster has to go. Now. Urgently. It’s what is standing in the way not just of voting rights, but of abortion rights (and expanding the Supreme Court to secure these things), and Biden’s larger economic and social agenda. It’s what is standing in the way of addressing climate change.

As Biden himself just said, “Climate change poses and existential threat.” Meaning that unabated, it will kill everyone. So what possible reason could there be for keeping a Senate rule—not a constitutional obligation, but a rule—that’s primarily been used to oppress huge swaths of society?

Of all the Senate traditions to be revered, this is the least of them.



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