President Joe Biden is open to ideas about getting rid of the Senate filibuster, the White House said Tuesday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that although Biden’s “preference” was “not to make changes” to the filibuster, “he is also open to hearing ideas.”
Psaki spoke to reporters about the filibuster during the president’s trip to Pennsylvania to promote his massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus spending bill.
She pointed out that Biden did not have the power to stop Democrats from changing the Senate rules.
“This is, of course, a Senate rule,” she said. “It’s not a law that he would change or sign into law. It’s a Senate rule.”
When Biden was a senator, he defended the filibuster as a tool of “compromise and moderation.”
“At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it is about compromise and moderation,” Biden said on the Senate floor in 2005.
Then-SEN. BIDEN (5/23/2005): “At its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it is about compromise and moderation. That is why the Founders put unlimited debate in. That is what it is about, engendering compromise and moderation.” pic.twitter.com/AnmfRsaKpk
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) January 25, 2021
Psaki spoke about the filibuster as Democrat activists are urging Senate Democrats to end the rule in order to pass more of their agenda that Republicans staunchly oppose.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke against the filibuster on Tuesday.
“The filibuster is still making a mockery of American democracy,” he said, arguing that it was “being misused” by Republicans to block Democrat legislation.
But in 2018, when Democrats were in the minority, Durbin said getting rid of the filibuster would “be the end of the Senate.”
“We have to acknowledge our respect for the minority, and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure,” he said in an interview with ABC News at the time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a similar warning Tuesday arguing that ending the filibuster rule would ruin the Senate.
“Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin, to imagine what a completely scorched-Earth Senate would look like,” McConnell said.