The Senate in recent weeks has used the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block legislation dealing with voting rights and the establishment of a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Now, as the filibuster threatens to stall more of President Biden’s agenda, the momentum for changing or eliminating the procedural tool is growing among Senate Democrats.
Changing the filibuster rules via the what has been called the “nuclear option” would require a simple majority vote in the Senate. But given that no Senate Republican supports that step, any change to the filibuster will probably require all senators who caucus with Democrats to vote to change the rules.
While some senators have called for eliminating the legislative filibuster altogether, attention has focused on two Democrats opposed to doing so: Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia. But support for such a change is nowhere near the 50 votes needed. Many have called for smaller changes, such as a “talking filibuster,” which would require senators to talk at length on the Senate floor. Others have suggested reducing the 60-vote threshold to 55 votes to end a filibuster on legislation.
And as The Fix has reported, many of the senators calling for changing or eliminating the filibuster previously supported the filibuster when Republicans controlled the Senate.
Some of these senators have stayed conspicuously quiet about filibuster changes, even as momentum has built in the Democratic base. In each case, we’re relying on their most recent comments — some of which occurred before Democrats took control of the Senate in January. These statements — and the categories each senator lands in — will be updated when applicable.
Sens. Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are independents who caucus with Democrats.