What You Need to Know:
For the first time since leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama wrote an opinion piece. Wednesday, he supported a change in the Senate filibuster in order to pass national voting bills.
In Wednesday’s USA Today, Mr. Obama called upon the memory of the man who heralds voting rights at the center of this fight, the late civil rights pioneer and Congressman John Lewis.
The nation’s first Black President implored today’s lawmakers to, in the words of filmmaker Spike Lee, “do the right thing.”
“Now is the time for all of us to follow John Lewis’ example. Now is the time for the U.S. Senate to do the right thing. America’s long-standing grand experiment in democracy is being sorely tested. Future generations are counting on us to meet that test.”
Mr. Obama’s argument in favor of changing the Senate’s filibuster rule follows President Biden’s long-awaited, full-throated speech about the “carve-out“ Tuesday afternoon.
Even after what the White House described as a major speech, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) remained as stalwarts in support of the filibuster. Before Mr. Biden reached the Capitol for a Thursday meeting, Sinema stood on the Senate floor to make clear her opposition to change the filibuster in order to pass voting laws.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation…while I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division affecting our country,” Sinema said.
Why You Need to Know:
So what if the filibuster carve-out will come back to bite Democrats in the future? Do the right thing.
The U.S. Supreme Court would not have the current conservative majority, if not for former Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s successful moves to eliminate the filibuster when it came to Trump Supreme Court nominees.
Senators Manchin and Sinema have all but said they stand with their fellow Republicans to continue pushing voter suppression laws across the country.
But there should also be heat on the number of Democratic leaders who, despite their words, have not worked with the ferocity and passion to commit to voting rights as they did with the Biden infrastructure and Build Back Better bills.