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In his first press conference since being inaugurated 64 days ago, President Joe Biden gave a threatening but unclear answer on whether he would support eliminating the filibuster in the Senate.
When asked by CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, Biden said he concurs with former President Barack Obama’s stance that the filibuster is “a relic of the Jim Crow era,” but provided an incomprehensible answer on how the filibuster is being abused.
“Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible,” Biden abruptly said, after looking at the ground for several seconds in silence. “Let’s figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule, first. It’s been abused since the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last twenty years. Let’s deal with the abuse first.”
When Collins followed up asking Biden if he is close to eliminating the filibuster, the president said, “I answered your question.”
.@kaitlancollins: "Do you agree that the filibuster is a relic of the Jim Crow era?"
BIDEN: "Yes."@kaitlancollins: "Why not abolish it if it's a relic of the Jim Crow era?"
BIDEN: "Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible." pic.twitter.com/MVCFoAHGZL
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 25, 2021
Last week, the president said he supported changing but not eliminating the Senate’s filibuster rule while speaking to ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos. This was the first time Biden had directly called for reform after much speculation from both sides.
“I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do it what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden said. “You had to stand up and command the floor; you had to keep talking.”
The announcement from Biden came after press secretary Jen Psaki said a week prior that Biden’s “preference is not to make changes to the filibuster rule.”
Recently, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he plans to bring legislation to the floor on the filibuster. In an interview with CBS host Stephen Colbert, Sen. Schumer said that he wishes to move forward with a “bold” plan on filibuster legislation. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told reporters that Republicans need to provide evidence that the filibuster is worth keeping.
“What I’m saying to those who defend the filibuster is show me that the Senate can operate with a filibuster and still do things that make us a better nation. They have to test that on the floor,” Durbin said to reporters.
The president also notably said in the presser that Republican election reform laws attempting to protect voting would “make Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” an unclear claim.
Biden’s unwillingness to provide answers on the filibuster further makes the situation convoluted on what the Democratic Party’s agenda legitimately is.