Mar 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Clyburn calls for filibuster loophole for voting rights

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) on Feb. 25, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) in a Guardian interview published Sunday urged his Democratic colleagues to find a way to work around the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation.

Why it matters: The interview comes after the House passed a sweeping election and anti-corruption bill, which would include the largest expansion to voting rights since the 1965 Voting Rights Act, according to the Guardian.

  • The bill, which passed the House with no Republican votes, is unlikely to clear the Senate because of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance legislation.

Driving the news: Clyburn called for the Senate to "develop a Manchin-Sinema rule on getting around the filibuster as it relates to race and civil rights,” referring to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who have opposed getting rid of the filibuster.

  • “If Manchin and Sinema enjoy being in the majority, they had better figure out a way to get around the filibuster when it comes to voting and civil rights.”

Clyburn pointed to a voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis to highlight the urgency of Democrats finding a way around the filibuster.

  • The bill would restore a Voting Rights Act provision that would require areas with a history of voting discrimination to get federal government clearance before making election changes.
  • “There’s no way under the sun that in 2021 that we are going to allow the filibuster to be used to deny voting rights," Clyburn said. "That just ain’t gonna happen. That would be catastrophic."

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