On June 30, 2022 Biden said he now supports changing the Senate filibuster rules to help push through Democrat priorities, including “abortion rights.”
“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that,” he said. “And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be — we provide an exception for this, should require an exception to the filibuster for this action, to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
He knows better than this. While he has personally went back and forth with his position on the filibuster, he has also admitted as recently as July 2021 that if the filibuster were to be eliminated entirely in the current climate it would, “Throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.”
It is not surprising that Democrats, being the Party of “Ends justify the means,” would oppose the filibuster when it gets in their way of passing their preferred legislation. Of course, this is appealing to some Republicans too. There is also valid arguments to be made for filibuster reform, but that is for another time. More important than understanding this specific instance of filibuster hate on the part of Biden is understanding how the filibuster came to be abused so much in the first place.
The Senate was meant to be a slow-moving deliberative body, a check against the fiery and passionate House. This makes it a natural enemy of the Democrat mentality these days. It seems from the common rhetoric Democrats would prefer the Senate just become another House or to get rid of it completely.
Progressive moves throughout the 20th Century helped kill the deliberative nature of the Senate. Expansion of legislative scope made all Congressional action a threat to Constitutionalism. The growing ideological divide in the country made obstructionism seem like a duty. The filibuster then became a weapon in the ideological war instead of a tool for fine-tuning argument and necessary policy through debate.
Both sides have misused the filibuster through the years of course. But you can mostly thank Democrat Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield in 1970 for the way it is overly misused today. He instituted the “two-track” rule model so that he could get his Democrat pet agenda through the Senate without being held up by filibuster on other issues. It was previously the case that if a filibuster was used the Senators had to do the hard work of keeping it up or business could not move forward on other issues. But Mansfield made it so that a filibuster on any given topic would not hold up business on others. This increased use dramatically since just a threat of a filibuster would stop any bill in its tracks with no energy spent on it.
So now we have more filibuster but less deliberation. A lose-lose situation given what the Senate is meant to be. But since the country is so divided on fundamental issues, this is a practical necessity. Without it we would have the ever-shifting unwise policy based on popular opinion and emotions that the Founders feared. This is bad for stability and the strength of the Union. But this is what the Democrats want because they calculate they will be able to maintain power moving forward. The fools.