Kamala Harris says she ‘can’t wait’ to end Senate filibuster if Democrats win seats in midterms
Vice President Kamala Harris said over Saturday that she “can’t wait” to cast her vote to end the “archaic” Senate filibuster in order to advance measures that protect abortion at a federal level and implement voting reform legislation.
Harris’ remarks came during a speech at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting at National Harbor in Maryland, where she urged support for Democratic Senate candidates in the November midterm elections.
“With just two more seats in the Senate, we can codify Roe v. Wade, we can put the protections of Roe in law,” Harris said. “With two more seats in the United States Senate we can pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Two more seats.”
“You know, our President Joe Biden, he’s been clear. He’s kinda done with those archaic Senate rules that are standing in the way of those two issues,” Harris said of the Senate filibuster – . “He’s made that clear and has said that he will not allow that to obstruct those two issues. And, you know, for me, as vice president, I’m also president of the Senate.… I cannot wait to cast the deciding vote to break the filibuster on voting rights and reproductive rights. I cannot wait! Fifty-nine days.”
The filibuster allows the minority party in the senate to require a 60-vote majority to pass any legislation through the body. The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.
While speaking to those in attendance for the event, Harris claimed the party has “momentum on our side” and predicted that Democrats would maintain its majority in the House and “expand” its Senate majority.
“We need to hold on — and we will — hold on to the House of Representatives and expand our majority in the United States Senate,” Harris said.
“On that point, allow me to lay out two very real scenarios for you. First, imagine — I don’t want to — but imagine if we lost our Democratic majority in the Congress. Republican Party leaders have made it clear they want to ban abortion nationwide and they won’t stop there,” she added.
Harris insisted that “marriage equality” and “contraception” will be “on the line” if Republicans retake the majority of Congress.
“Without a Democratic majority in Congress, who knows what other rights they will come after,” Harris questioned. “Now, imagine a better future. Imagine what we can do if we defend the five seats we need to hold onto the majority in the House. Imagine what we can do if we protect, and better yet, expand our majority in the Senate. Imagine. We can then fight to ensure every worker has paid family leave. We can fight to ensure every family can afford childcare, we can fight to ensure every childcare provider is paid fairly, also.”
During a speech in Durham, North Carolina, this month, Harris offered similar comments on the Senate rule, saying Biden would “not let the filibuster get in the way” of passing legislation that is meaningful to his agenda.
Amid negotiations on the passage of legislation to federally takeover elections earlier this year, Democrats, who are now seeking to protect abortion through Congress, attempted to eliminate the filibuster earlier this year and failed to garner support from two moderate Democrats.
The two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have both said they would not vote in favor of eliminating the rule, which requires a 60-vote supermajority requirement for passing legislation in the Senate.
“I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin said in a January statement. “Throughout the last decade or more, there has been broad bipartisan support for protecting the filibuster, including current and former members of the Senate.”
Likewise, Sinema, a longtime supporter of the Senate filibuster, said, “There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy. … Demands to eliminate this threshold from whichever party holds the fleeting majority amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting that solution to their colleagues.”
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