During his first press conference, President Biden said he was open to improvements in the filibuster to help Democrats enact their priorities, but its abolishment was not a consideration. 

While making his pitch to end the filibuster, Biden appeared to lose his confidence, having lost the argument defending his idea. 

“And in order to do that in a 50/50 Senate we’ve got to get to the place where I get 50 votes so that the vice president of the United States can break the tie—or I get 51 votes without her,” Biden responded to a question about the number of votes required to end a filibuster. 

The president went on to make a few statements that were supposed to support his proposal “And so I’m going to say something outrageous … I have never been particularly poor at calculating how to get things done in the United States Senate. So the best way to get something done, if you hold near and dear to you that you like to be able to—uh anyway. We’re going to get a lot done. If we have to, if there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about.” 

The filibuster law has become a source of contention even among Senate Democrats as they try to get new legislation passed against Republican opposition. 

Meanwhile, Biden gave his strongest support for a return to a variation of the so-called talking filibuster, which would enable a senator or group of senators to hold the floor in order to postpone a piece of legislation. Yet, a talking filibuster provision that did not include a drop in the 60-vote threshold for most legislation would not solve Senate Democrats’ most pressing issue of late: securing 10 Republican votes.

Despite agreeing with former President Barack Obama’s portrayal of the filibuster as a remnant of the Jim Crow period, Biden did not call for it to be repealed entirely. He also suggested that he would accept the possibility for filibuster exceptions, stating that he believes the functioning of U.S society may require rights that are just elemental such as voting right. 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and several other Democrats have called for a filibuster exemption for the comprehensive voting rights legislation presently before Congress. However, when Senate Democrats accept any rule changes, it is unlikely that this particular reform will pass muster. 

Additionally, the president suggested that in case of a complete lockout and confusion as a result of the filibuster, “then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

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