President Joe Biden said for the first time Tuesday that he’s in favor of tweaking Senate filibuster rules that threaten to derail his agenda.
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Biden said he supported the so-called talking filibuster that requires more effort for the minority party to block legislation.
“I don’t think that you have to eliminate the filibuster, you have to do what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days,” Biden said. “You had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking.”
When asked if that meant he was supporting the talking filibuster, Biden replied: “I am.”
“It’s getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning,” Biden added.
An except of the interview aired Tuesday night. It is scheduled to be aired in full Wednesday morning.
Though Democrats have a 51-50 advantage in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote, most legislation requires at least 60 votes to pass. And with little bipartisan cooperation seen so far, Republican filibusters could deny most of Biden’s major legislative priorities.
Biden had previously said he didn’t want to eliminate the filibuster, as many liberal Democrats are urging. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat and a key swing vote in the Senate, has said he’s open to changing the filibuster rules to make it “more painful,” though he does not support eliminating it.
Earlier Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threatened to grind the Senate to a halt if any changes to the filibuster rules are made. “The Senate would be more like a hundred-car pileup. Nothing moving,” he said in a speech.