Feinstein says Senate should look at reforming the filibuster

Feinstein says Senate should look at reforming the filibuster

After President Joe Biden recently suggested he’d favor a return to a “talking filibuster,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday the Senate should weigh changing filibuster rules.

The California Democrat said that, ideally, the Senate would come together in a bipartisan manner to pass legislation on gun background checks and voting rights, among other things.

“But if that proves impossible and Republicans continue to abuse the filibuster by requiring cloture votes, I’m open to changing the way the Senate filibuster rules are used,” Feinstein said in a statement Friday, saying a talking filibuster should be considered, pointing to Biden’s support for it. “I don’t want to turn away from Senate traditions, but I also don’t believe one party should be able to prevent votes on important bills by abusing the filibuster.”

Feinstein, who has served in the Senate for nearly three decades and previously backed the filibuster, had told POLITICO earlier in the week that she hadn’t made a call on filibuster reform. But she said she was “hesitant” about changing the filibuster because of what could happen when Republicans take power in the Senate. In an interview earlier this week on ABC, Biden said he’d be open to a return to the talking filibuster, which forced lawmakers to hold the floor to stymie a bill.

Democrats have been pushing to reform the filibuster in a 50-50 Democrat-controlled Senate, but face an uphill battle, even with Feinstein’s support to consider reform.

Several Senate Democrats told POLITICO Wednesday that they aren’t on board yet with throwing out the filibuster for most legislation. Progressives have been pushing hard to scrap the filibuster, which has made it harder for Democrats to pass their agenda, requiring 60 votes for most legislation.

The Senate passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill via reconciliation with no Republican support and may have to do the same again with an upcoming infrastructure package.

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