Last updated on: 4/15/2024 | Author: ProCon.org

Should the U.S. Senate Keep the Filibuster?

A filibuster is a parliamentary means for blocking a legislative body’s vote on an issue. As Encyclopaedia Britannica explains, a filibuster is “used in the United States Senate by a minority of the senators—sometimes even a single senator—to delay or prevent parliamentary action by talking so long that the majority either grants concessions or withdraws the bill.” The strategy is only used in the Senate because “unlike the House of Representatives, in which rules limit speaking time, the Senate allows unlimited debate on a bill. Speeches can be completely irrelevant to the issue.” For more on the filibuster, explore the ProCon debate.

Not Clear or Not Found

Joe Biden:

“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law, and the way to do that is to make sure that the Congress votes to do that and if the filibuster gets in the way [there] should be … an exception.”

“I believe the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills. Debate them. Vote. Let the majority prevail—and if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this.”

“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster. The idea, for example, that my Republican friends say that we’re going into default on the national debt because they’re going to fillibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing [I] ever heard.”

Editors’ Note: Based on Biden’s statements, whether he wants changes to the filibuster or to eliminate the filibuster is unclear.

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Amanda Becker, “Biden Says He Supports Changing Senate Filibuster Rules to Protect Abortion Rights,” texastribune.org, June 30, 2022
Brian Bennett, “Joe Biden Defended the Filibuster for Years. Now He Wants to End It for Voting Rights,” time.com, Jan. 11, 2022
Trevor Hunnicutt and Nandita Bose, “Biden Wants to ‘Fundamentally Alter’ Senate Filibuster on Some Issues,” reuters.com, Oct. 22, 2021

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position as of Apr. 1, 2024.

Donald Trump:

“If they [Democrats] get the filibuster, if they knock it out, it will be catastrophic for the Republican Party.”

Editors’ Note: According to sources, in June 2018, Trump told Senate Republicans to get rid of the filibuster before a possible Democrat control of the Senate in November.

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Sonam Sheth, “Trump Says It Would Be ‘Catastrophic for the Republican Party’ If the Senate Kills the Filibuster,” businessinsider.com, Mar. 21, 2021
Source for Editors’ Note: John Bresnahan, Burgess Everett and Sarah Ferris, “Trump to GOP: Dump the Filibuster before Schumer Does,” politico.com, June 26, 2018