Jul 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Sanders endorses ending filibuster to pass voting rights legislation

Bernie Sanders during a Democratic Party presidential debate in March.
Bernie Sanders during a Democratic Party presidential debate in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday agreed with former President Obama's proposal to eliminate the Senate filibuster in order to pass the Voting Rights Act.

Why it matters: Sanders rejected abolishing the filibuster during the third Democratic primary debate in September 2o19, suggesting that congressional Democrats could instead pass progressive policies by attaching them to budget reconciliation bills, which cannot be filibustered by the minority party, according to Senate rules.

What he's saying: "President Obama is absolutely right. It is an outrage that modern-day poll taxes, gerrymandering, I.D. requirements, and other forms of voter suppression still exist today," Sanders wrote on Twitter.

  • "If expanding the Voting Rights Act requires us to eliminate the filibuster, then that is what we must do."
  • Obama on Thursday called the filibuster "another Jim Crow relic" during his eulogy for the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.

The big picture: It is unclear where Joe Biden stands on abolishing the filibuster. He told the New York Times in July that it will "depend on how obstreperous they become,” referring to Senate Republicans.

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