Jan 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Sen. Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

The backdrop: Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are currently negotiating a power-sharing agreement to operate the new 50-50 Senate. Whether the 60-vote filibuster rule will endure is at the center of their stalemate.

Driving the news: Just Democracy, a coalition of more than 40 progressive groups led by Black and brown organizers seeking to reform government, created and paid for a week-long billboard in the heart of Schumer's district starting Monday.

  • The ad boasts quotes from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former President Obama and ex-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, all condemning the filibuster. None of them is working in conjunction with the organizers on the billboard.
  • Of note: Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive beacon, won't quell speculation she's considering challenging Schumer for his seat.

What they're saying: “Democrats gained control of the Senate because of Black and Brown organizers and voters," Stasha Rhodes, campaign director for 51 for 51 and a member of the Just Democracy coalition, said in a statement to Axios. "Now they have a chance to remove the biggest impediment to the legislation those voters care about most — voting rights, healthcare, a serious COVID rescue package and more."

  • Another group, Fix Our Senate, ran a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times that also pushed Schumer to end the filibuster.
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