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Biden says he backs ‘exception’ to Senate rules to allow Democrats to pass abortion protections

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said on Thursday he would support making an exception to Senate rules to codify Roe v. Wade’s protections for a woman’s right to abortion and privacy rights.

“I believe we should codify Roe v. Wade into law. And the way to do that is to get Congress to vote for it and if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be. … an exception … to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision,” Biden said in comments at a press conference in Madrid when asked if he would declare a public health emergency in response. to the Supreme Court ruling quashing the Supreme Court ruling. Historic decision from 1973.

The Senate filibuster needs 60 votes to pass most laws. Progressive Democrats have pushed for the elimination of the filibuster to push through key pieces of Biden’s agenda.

Asked to further clarify his position Thursday, Biden said he would support making an exception to the filibuster to protect the right to privacy; that right was central to the Supreme Court decision in favor of abortion rights in Roe v. Wade.

Biden’s comments indicate that his view of the filibuster is shifting. The longtime Delaware senator had defended the rule, arguing that it’s integral to how the upstairs room works and part of his tradition. By March 2021, Biden said he would support a “talking filibuster” who would change the rule to require a senator to talk on the floor to block legislation. A few months later, in July 2021, Biden stood by the filibuster again, saying in a CNN town hall that getting rid of it would cause “chaos” in Congress and that “Nothing at all will be done.”

For example, when a draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion to undo Roe leaked in early May, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called for the filibuster to end to codify the right to abortion so it could continue with a simple majority.

However, it is not that simple. Democrats probably don’t have 50 votes to make that happen anyway.

Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have resisted getting rid of the filibuster, and neither has joined Democratic colleagues in calling for a carveout over Roe v. Wade to codify.

When the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2013, they invoked the “nuclear option” of getting rid of the 60-vote filibuster to confirm nominees for the executive branch and nominees other than those for the Supreme Court. In 2017, Senate Republicans did it again, but for Supreme Court candidates to confirm the election of then-President Donald Trump, Neil Gorsuch, without Democratic votes.

Biden’s comments from Thursday indicate that his view of the filibuster is shifting. The longtime Delaware senator had defended the rule, arguing that it’s integral to how the upstairs room works and part of his tradition. By March 2021, Biden said he would support a “talking filibuster” who would change the rule to require a senator to talk on the floor to block legislation. A few months later, in July 2021, Biden stood by the filibuster again, saying in a CNN town hall that getting rid of it would cause “chaos” in Congress and that “Nothing at all will be done.”

In January of this year, Biden said he was in favor of adding an exception to the filibuster to allow for the adoption of federal voting rights legislation. At the funeral of civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., called for former President Barack Obama to abolish the 60-vote threshold to pass voting rights legislation, calling the filibuster a “Jim Crow relic.”

House Democrats, meanwhile, are considering legislation that would protect women’s intimate and personal information, to make clear that Americans have the “right to travel freely and voluntarily” and to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would once again protect abortion rights.

After the Supreme Court last week issued its opinion rejecting Roe, Biden and other top Democrats have made it clear that abortion is on the agenda in November’s midterm elections, and are urging Democrats and supporters of those rights to go. to vote.

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