Biden Supports Suspending Filibuster to Codify Roe v. Wade
In reaction to the Supreme Court's recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, President Biden suggests suspending the filibuster to codify the landmark 1973 ruling into law.
President Biden said on Thursday that he supports temporarily suspending the filibuster, if necessary, to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law, reports The Wall Street Journal.
"The most important thing to be clear about is we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that," Mr. Biden told reporters during a press conference in Spain. "And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be provided an exception for this…to the filibuster."
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: Changing the filibuster rules of the Senate would allow legislation protecting abortion access to pass the chamber with 51 votes rather than the 60 votes usually required for bills to advance. Mr. Biden had previously backed an exception to filibuster rules to pass long-stalled election bills. It was the first time that the president publicly backed changing the filibuster rules to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law. Such legislation could still face roadblocks to passage because Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, both moderate Democrats, have said they opposed changing or ending the Senate’s filibuster rules.
According to The New York Times, President Biden condemned what he called the "outrageous behavior" of the Supreme Court in deciding to overturn Roe v. Wade and said for the first time that he supported ending the filibuster to protect a woman’s right to an abortion.
"It is a mistake, in my view for the Supreme Court to do what it did," Mr. Biden said. "I feel extremely strongly that I’m going to do everything in my power, which I legally can do in terms of executive orders, as well as push the Congress and the public."
Excerpt from The New York Times: It was the second time Mr. Biden has urged Congress to scrap its rules requiring a 60-vote threshold in the Senate to pass a specific piece of legislation. In January, he called on lawmakers to make an exception to filibuster rules to pass legislation to add voting rights protections. Speaking at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a weeklong series of meetings with allies in Europe, Mr. Biden called the abortion decision by the court "destabilizing" for the country and said he could understand why Americans are frustrated with the direction taken by the court’s conservative majority.
With the current 60-vote threshold, Democrats have few legislative options to fight the end of the nationwide right to an abortion. Democrats have previously attempted and failed to pass legislation to protect abortion rights on the federal level, and while they have a 50-vote majority in the Senate, such a bill cannot pass unless they change filibuster rules, writes Axios.
Excerpt from Axios: Despite not meeting the 60-vote threshold, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that bills have been introduced to "codify freedoms which Americans currently enjoy," such as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The president clarified that he believes the right to privacy should be codified, which would protect more than just abortion access on the federal level. It could include access to contraceptives and marriage equality.