President Joe Biden this week essentially rejected the idea of eliminating the filibuster and said he does not get “wrapped up” in arguments about it.
The story: The president made the comments during a CNN town hall on Wednesday night that took place in Cincinnati. He weighed in on the debate about the filibuster after a first-year law student asked whether he supports it.
The moderator at the town hall, CNN’s Don Lemon also pressed Biden on why he hasn’t called for the filibuster to be abolished.
What he said: Biden said he would like to see the Senate return to the old days when lawmakers were required to be present in the Senate chamber to fillibuster.
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“If you were to filibuster, you had to stand on the floor and hold the floor,” he said. “So you had to take — there were significantly fewer filibusters in those days. In the middle of the civil rights movement.”
The president was also asked if protecting the filibuster is more important than protecting voting rights.
“No, it’s not,” Biden said.
Biden explained that while he wants Democrats to pass legislation, he believes they should do so with the support of their Republican colleagues.
“[W]hat I also want to do, I want to make sure we bring along not just all the Democrats, we bring along Republicans who I know better,” Biden said. “What I don’t want to do is get wrapped up around whether this is all about the filibuster. You will throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.”
“There’s a lot at stake. The most important one is the right to vote, that’s the single most important one,” the president added.
“What I want to do is I’m trying to bring the country together, and I don’t want the debate to only be about whether or not we have a filibuster or exceptions to the filibuster or going back to the way the filibuster had to be used before,” Biden explained.