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Sen. Elizabeth Warren gives one of her famous pinky promises to 5-year-old Evelyn Baker on a nurses' picket line in Worcester, Mass., last week. Photo: Ashley Green / Telegram & Gazette via Reuters

Signaling a coming case by progressives, Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Axios the Senate's legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation, wasn't a creation of the founding fathers.

What she's saying: "The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority. In a democracy, it's majority rules."

The big picture: A leading theme among progressive Democrats is to ramp up moral pressure on more skeptical members of their caucus who are skeptical of reforming the filibuster.

  • Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) also played on this theme in a conversation with Axios' Kadia Goba.
  • "It's important that we not continue to allow the filibuster to be a tool used to suppress the right to vote, that black people have fought and died for," Johnson said, adding that he thinks moderate Democrats should consider changes to the Senate rule that would exclude it from applying to voting rights legislation.
  • Playing on these members' legacy is also an emerging theme in their persuasion tactics, senior Democratic aides tell Axios. Do they really want to be remembered as standing in the way of the administration's ability to enact significant policy when Democrats not only control the White House but both chambers of Congress?

Context: Warren explained to Axios that, during the Constitutional Convention, "the founders debated whether to require a supermajority in either House of Congress, and decided that government would function more effectively if both the Senate and the House worked by simple majority."

  • "When they didn't want a simple majority, for example in an impeachment, they said so specifically. The filibuster is a later creation that was designed to give the South the ability to veto any effective civil rights legislation or anti lynching legislation."
  • This understanding of the filibuster's origins is in part what's driving many Democrats' hopes at using their voting rights package to try and convince those on the fence to support changes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.