Press Releases

Weekend Roundup: Momentum Grows to Update Senate Procedure to the Pass the Freedom to Vote Act

Oct 25, 2021

After Senate Republicans last week blocked even having a debate on the Freedom to Vote Act, a commonsense compromise voting rights and anti-corruption bill co-authored by Senators Manchin, Klobuchar, Warnock, Merkley, and others, Democratic leaders as well as moderate and independent Senators late last week made clear that the Senate will need to reform its procedures to protect Americans’ freedom to vote if Republicans continue to recklessly block even a debate on every and any voting rights bill.

See below for statements from key Democrats discussing updating Senate procedure to overcome Republican blockage of the Freedom to Vote Act: 

  • President Joe Biden

    • “We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster.”

    • When it comes to voting rights, [Biden] said he would entertain the notion of doing away with the filibuster on that one issue and maybe more.

  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki

    • “[President Biden] spoke back in March about… how he would view it if Republicans continue to be obstructionist around it. And we’ve seen that time and time again. So he will discuss what that looks like because not getting voting rights done is not an option.”

  • Former President Barack Obama

    • “All across the country, Democrats are trying to make it easier to vote, not make it harder to vote, and push back on Republicans who are trying to systematically prevent ordinary citizens from making their voices heard. Just this past week… every Democrat in the Senate supported a bill that would protect the right to vote, and ban partisan gerrymandering, and reduce the influence of dark money in our politics. Every Democrat voted for it, every Republican voted against it… You have to ask yourself, ‘why is it that Republicans don’t want you to vote? What is it that they’re so afraid of?’”

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 

    • “The most important vote right now in the Congress of the United States is the vote to respect the sanctity of the vote, the fundamental basis of our democracy. If there were one vote that [reforming] the filibuster could enable to go forward, that would be the vote… The compromise they voted on last week is perfectly good, but they didn’t get any Republican votes on it.”

  • Senator Angus King

    • “I think some kind of talking filibuster, perhaps a rule that instead of having to have 60 votes to pass something, you’d have to have 41 votes to stop it. So that way, the minority would at least have to show up. One of the problems now is [the minority] don’t even have to show up. They don’t have to speak, they don’t have to do anything. It just sort of becomes an automatic supermajority requirement, which isn’t in the Constitution, and the framers were diametrically opposed to that concept… One of the reasons the Articles of Confederation failed back before the Constitution was that it had a supermajority requirement for Congress to do anything, and they ended up not being able to do anything. And so we’ve got to do something about this, at least when it comes to something as crucial as democracy itself, as voting rights.”

  • Senator Jon Ossoff

    • “We should do what it takes to pass federal voting legislation. We have to be thoughtful about it, and I’m going to consider any proposed rules changes thoughtfully (and) think about the long term implications. The bottom line is that we must advance a meaningful federal voting rights measure.”

  • Senator Jon Tester

    • “Right now, I am focused on getting voting rights moving forward. At a certain point, if we can’t accomplish that, I am going to say, ‘We have to move forward, with or without you.’”