For Senate Dems to Agree to Nuke the Filibuster, Certain Things Would Have to Happen First.
What will it take for Senate Democrats to take the necessary steps to get things done?
With the $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief packaged now signed into law by President Biden and relief checks already being deposited into the bank accounts of tens of millions of people across the country, it was certainly worth noting that not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill throughout the entire legislative process between the House and the Senate. Since before they had even officially taken control of the Senate and been handed unilateral control of the government, Senate Democrats have been faced with questions regarding whether or not they would nuke the filibuster, an important step that would prevent them from having to secure Republican votes in a 50–49 Senate.
Considering the fact that 60 votes are required for most legislation to make it through the Senate, it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re going to be left with no alternative if they want to get anything done over the course of the next two years.
Of course, conservative corporate Democrats like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have already vowed they want to protect the traditions of the Senate, continue to reach out to Republicans, and protect the filibuster. That said, with the relief package and certain elements of it out of the way, I have a feeling that they might be more open to the idea as Democrats set their sights on other priorities.
It’s worth noting that since the $15 minimum wage increase was already killed in the covid relief package, as infuriating as it is that alone might be an important factor in conservative Democrats like Manchin and Sinema beginning to soften their stance on the filibuster. I’m not sure how much more clear they could have made it that they did not want to see Americans get the desperately needed minimum wage increase, and the filibuster — up until Bernie introduced it as an amendment to the bill anyways — was a way of protecting them from having to vote on the matter. But now, with not only an infrastructure but a voting rights bill on the way that would give Democrats a significant advantage in maintaining their power for no other reason than making it easier for Americans to vote, as I said before I have a feeling that they’re going to begin changing their minds. Of course, not right away.
The voting rights bill that just passed the House of Representatives happens to be an excellent piece of legislation, touching on the entirety of the electoral process whether it be money in politics to the ease of voting. Now unfortunately, many have justifiably observed it’s on it’s way to the Senate to die considering it would require 60 votes. Unless Democrats nuke the filibuster.
As it stands today, conservative Democrats would almost certainly not agree to nuking the filibuster over what is inarguably an excellent bill, namely I would argue because of the anti corruption and money in politics aspects of it that lawmakers across party lines so richly benefit from in the weeks, months, even years leading up to their re-election bids. But, because it benefits them overall and would help them maintain their power, of course Democrats want the pieces of the bill that would make it easier for Americans to vote. After the Senate is done editing the bill and effortlessly wipes away some of the best aspects of it that would affect their fundraising, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we begin to see them arguing that Republicans are leaving them with no choice but to nuke the filibuster.
Voting rights bill aside, I’m sure there are a number of Democratic lawmakers in the Senate who theoretically at least want to get legislation passed to improve infrastructure and mitigate climate change before it’s time for them to begin focusing on getting re-elected. As disappointing as it is that Democrats seem intent on delivering nothing more than the bare minimum for their constituents, they’re going to want legislation to point to in an effort to get re-elected, and as much as they might like “unity” with Republican lawmakers, that isn’t going to happen. While I certainly would not put it past Democrats to continue down this path of unnecessarily gridlocked government in an effort to make excuses for their lackluster abilities to legislate, I would not be surprised if once certain policy proposals and pieces of legislation are set aside, their views on the filibuster might change.