Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Filibuster Must Be Reformed To Allow Passage of Voting Rights Legislation
Press Release

RELEASE: Filibuster Must Be Reformed To Allow Passage of Voting Rights Legislation

Washington, D.C. — A new column from the Center for American Progress calls on the Senate to reform its filibuster rules so lawmakers can pass crucial voting rights legislation to protect democracy.

Reforming the Senate’s arcane filibuster rules is imperative given the continued blockade of voting rights bills, the column says. The push has gained urgency as President Joe Biden—a longtime supporter of the filibuster rules—called for the procedure to be eliminated or reformed during a town hall event on Thursday. Several moderate senators in the Senate Democratic caucus have also expressed the need to reform the filibuster.

Last week, Senate Republicans filibustered debate of the Freedom to Vote Act, compromise legislation co-authored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-VA) that would protect the right to vote, help stop election sabotage by partisan state officials, stop partisan gerrymandering, and reduce political corruption. This week, the Senate minority party is expected to filibuster debate of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill that would strengthen the original Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Yet again, Senate Republicans are blocking even debating crucial voting rights legislation while our democracy is under assault,” said Michael Sozan, a senior fellow at CAP and author of the column. “State legislatures around the nation have passed harmful new laws aimed at suppressing voters of color or sabotaging valid election results. The Senate is now left with only one option: reform the arcane filibuster rules to protect the cherished right to vote.”

CAP President and CEO Patrick Gaspard also made the argument during the most recent episode of CAP Action’s podcast, “The Tent.”

“The filibuster is a tool of obstruction,” Gaspard said. “It is a tool that is used by the powerful in order to continue to oppress those who have any aspiration of being included in the Great Society. The filibuster has to not just be reformed but be blown up.”

Read the column: “Senate Must Reform Filibuster To Pass Voting Rights Bills After Senate Republicans Again Block Legislation” by Michael Sozan

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For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org.

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