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‘We’re gonna struggle’: Ed Markey lays out the case for abolishing the filibuster to guard voting rights


“I just know that the filibuster has to go.”

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., speaks throughout a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation within the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Pool through AP

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Cori Bush joined collectively to host a Twitter Spaces occasion Jan. 13 calling for abolishing the filibuster with a purpose to defend voting rights. 

The dialog, which lasted about half an hour and drew simply over 700 listeners at its peak, lined Markey and Bush’s opinions on the filibuster, what eliminating the filibuster would do for his or her constituents, and the way they’re feeling concerning the odds of a win. 

The filibuster is a tactic employed in Congress the place, with a purpose to delay or stop a vote, members of Congress debate the subject for an prolonged time period. In the Senate, 60 votes are required to finish a filibuster. 

During their dialog, Markey learn the fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution which says the fitting to vote can’t be denied or abridged based mostly on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” He stated democracy shall be undermined and threatened if the filibuster stays for voting rights points.  

“I don’t think there was ever a moment when the people who wrote that amendment to the Constitution, or the original founding fathers of the Constitution ever meant for there to be a minority of senators to be able to block with the majority will in the United States,” Markey stated. “Right now there is a clear majority will for the protection of the voters. And it’s only the filibuster that stops it because they contend that we need 60 votes, we need 60% of the Senate, in order to protect people and that of course is absolutely absurd.”

Bush, a Democrat from the primary district of Missouri, requested how minority teams, akin to BIPOC and people with disabilities, are presupposed to get justice when many proposed modifications are inhibited by the filibuster.

“The filibuster is not even in the constitution. … It’s not something that we have to have,” Bush stated.

Both Bush and Markey mentioned how the filibuster has straight affected voting rights for many years. Abolishing the filibuster would clear a path for each the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. If handed, collectively the acts could be essentially the most complete democracy reform legislation enacted in many years. 

“We’re going to have this debate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States Senate, and we have to repeal the filibuster so that we can redeem the promise of all those generations that fought for everyone in the country to have these rights,” Markey stated. 

Markey isn’t the one distinguished Massachusetts politician to come back out in assist of fixing the principles to now not permit filibustering for voting rights. Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, from Massachusetts’s fifth district, wrote an op-ed in Newsweek final week saying “We must abolish the current filibuster to protect the vote and fair elections. The future of the republic depends on it.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has additionally been vocal in calling for the removing of the filibuster for voting rights. President Joe Biden additionally got here out in assist of a change to filibuster guidelines earlier this week. 

Markey and Bush ended their Twitter Spaces occasion discussing how they have been feeling about their odds. Bush stated she is “optimistic that the work will get done.”

“We’re gonna fight, we’re gonna struggle for the next four days,” Markey stated to Bush. “I just hope that a victory can be reached on the filibuster [and] on voting rights, but on all the other issues that you care about and that our country needs to see put in place to protect those most vulnerable.”

Shortly after Markey and Bush completed up their dialog, President Biden signaled he’s not assured his celebration’s signature elections and voting rights payments will cross Congress this 12 months. The announcement on the Capitol got here after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona revealed her refusal to associate with different Democrats to vary the Senate filibuster rule.

“The honest to God answer is I don’t know whether we can get this done,” Biden stated. “As long as I’m in the White House, as long as I’m engaged at all, I’m going to be fighting.”

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