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Harris Says Dems Will Dump Filibuster to Force Through Abortion, Elections Legislation After Midterms

Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: September 12, 2022
Harris says Democrats will dump the Filibuster to push through abortion and election laws if they win two more Senate seats in November's midterms.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris leaves the Capitol on June 22, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Harris told NBC that if Democrats win more Senate seats during the midterms, they will dump the filibuster rule to push through abortion and elections legislation, but maintain it for other issues. (Image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris told the media that if Democrats manage to win two more seats during the upcoming November midterm elections, they will ditch the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade-style abortion laws in addition to pushing through favorable election legislation.

The comments were made during an episode of NBC’s Meet the Press on Sept. 11 where Harris set the stage, “In less than two months, we are looking at a midterm election in which so much is on the line.”

The VP got right to the point, taking aim at the recent overturning of the Roe precedent by the Supreme Court, stating that the high court “just took away a constitutional right that had been recognized from the women of America from the people of America.”

“Well, how does that relate to the midterms?” Harris set her own tee.

“Our president has said he will not let the filibuster get in the way. If the Senate, though a majority voter, votes to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, he will sign it into law.” 

She continued, “You know what that means in the midterms? We need to hold on to the Senate and get two more, then we can put into the law the protections of Roe v. Wade.”

The comments come just a day after Harris told the Democratic National Committee during a speech given at its summer meeting that President Biden is fed up with the filibuster blocking Democrats from codifying their desires.

“He’s kind of done with those archaic Senate rules that are standing in the way of” elections and abortion legislation, she stated, according to Washington Examiner.

Harris was rather cheerful and direct in further comments, “And, you know, for me, as Vice President, I’m also President of the Senate, and in our first year in office, some historians here may know, I actually broke John Adams’s record of casting the most tie breaking votes in a single term, how about that?” 

“And so that being the case, I cannot wait to cast the deciding vote to break the filibuster on voting rights and reproductive rights. I cannot wait! Fifty-nine days!”

But the Examiner noted that the Democrats have a problem posed by moderates in their ranks — Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ) — who have steadfastly opposed eliminating the filibuster.

A January of 2021 explainer on the filibuster published by PBS states that the term, which is rooted as far back as ancient Rome, used to involve a Senator taking advantage of a loophole in Senate regulations to speak for as long as they want. 

The result was, that if one party lacked the votes required to block legislation they did not want to see passed, they could simply drag out the debate process until the other side acquiesced to their demands.

To make a long story short, Senate rules were updated decades ago to produce a mechanism where an opposing Senator simply had to announce they intended to filibuster.

Afterwards, the Senate will immediately vote on whether to invoke “cloture,” a function which closes debate.

The key is that cloture requires a ⅗ majority to pass, resulting in 60 Senators ultimately having to approve whether or not legislation can move to the voting process where Democrats currently have a one seat majority formed by Harris herself.

Currently, this means that Democrat legislation has to win the graces of at least ten Republicans, so long as Manchin and Sinema are on board, at least.

Coverage on the story from RedState pointed out that based on Harris’s comments in the Meet the Press session, the actual intention of Democrats, should their power grow in the midterms, is to rout the filibuster for the issues they want passed while preserving it for those they do not.

When asked by host Chuck Todd, “Are you comfortable if this could end the legislative filibuster for good, probably, even if you only try to do it … for two issues?”

Harris replied, “No, I’m not. No, I’m not.”

She added that she thinks “that is very likely” that an expanded-Democrat Senate would maintain the filibuster for other issues.