This rule has been controversial for a long time. The "nuclear alternative" was used by Democrats in 2013. It eliminated the requirement of 60 votes for federal judicial nominations. This excludes the Supreme Court and executive-office appointments. The filibuster to confirm Supreme Court appointments was eliminated by the Republicans in 2017.
With Democrats now in control of both the White House and Congress, and Republicans blocking their agendas, the rule could be put back on the cutting block. There are a number of options. Senators could be forced to change the required votes from 60 to 55 or return to a "talkingfilibuster", where delay is only temporary if senators continue to talk (think "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington"), or eliminating the rule entirely.
Democrats require 50 votes to end the filibuster or modify it. They don't have the right number to repeal the filibuster, according to our count.
Here are the views of every senator Democrat on changing the filibuster.
Yes to reforming filibuster (24)
- Tammy Baldwin: She co-sponsored a bill that would have allowed the "talking filibuster to be established" in 2013, according to her office press release.
- Richard Blumenthal: "I believe we should end the filibuster. It is a barrier to conquering pandemics and reviving economy, getting stuff done," said he in January according to CNN.
- Cory Booker: "For America's vulnerable populations, and for the sake America doing big again, the filibuster must be reformed," Booker told Huffington Post on March.
- Sherrod Brown: "We have to eliminate filibuster," , he said to the Atlantic in November 2020.
- Maria Cantwell: "I supported Senator Merkley’s talking filibuster proposition in 2011 and I still support that today," Cantwell tweeted June.
- Ben Cardin: "I would like to abolish the filibuster but I don’t think you have enough votes in the Senate," Cardin said to the Washington Post March and added, "I’m trying to get a bipartisan buy in to reforming Senate."
- Kirsten Gillibrand: "I believe that we should abolish the filibuster, despite all the dangers," she stated in January according the Times Union. Gillibrand stated that Republicans should be given an opportunity to prove they can work with Democrats.
- Mazie Hirono said to the Daily Show that he would like to eliminate the filibuster, or that reconciliation would be necessary to pass some really large bills.
- Amy Klobuchar said that she would eliminate the filibuster in a statement to Mother Jones on March 1. "I've voted for filibuster reform for many years, especially now for this crucial election bill."
- Ben Ray Lujan: "For my part, my constituents supported and believed that I support filibuster Reform," Lujan stated in March, according Roll Call.
- Markey stated in a March press release that unless we abolish filibuster there will not be any progress on any agenda focusing on justice, fairness or basic survival.
- Bob Menendez, a supporter of the "talking filibuster," said a spokesman in March. The spokesman stated that Menendez will continue to work with Democratic colleagues to determine what reform looks like.
- Jeff Merkley: Designed to eliminate the filibuster on specific issues like voting rights, and the Atlantic in Jan. Per a press release , co-sponsored a bill that would allow for the "talking filibuster".
- Chris Murphy: "I think the filibuster fundamentally anti-Democratic," Murphy stated to the Washington Post on March.
- Patty Murray: "The For the People Act, is essential to ensuring that our democracy remains a democracy, and I will consider all legislative options, including an exemption from the filibuster to ensure it can become law," Murray stated to the Spokesman-Review on March.
- Jon Ossoff: Ossoff said Tuesday that he was open to reform. "It will be important to know the details of any proposed rule change."
- Alex Padilla: "I support abolishing filibuster," Padilla stated to CNNin February.
- Jacky Rosen: She supports reforming the filibuster, and eliminating it "in order to protect democracy," she stated to the Washington Post during a June statement.
- Bernie Sanders: "If passing voting rights legislation requires us to abolish the filibuster then that is what it should be," Sanders stated in a July 2020 statement.
- Brian Schatz: "No legislature on Earth has a supermajority requirement. That's stupid and paralyzing." Schatz posted on Twitter in February, "It's time for us to abolish the Jim Crow filibuster."
- Tina Smith: "We must move this country forward. That's why we need to get it moving," Smith posted on Twitter March.
- Chris Van Hollen: "[The Filibuster] just compounded the anti-democratic nature U.S. Senate," , he stated in an interview with Washington Post in March.
- Elizabeth Warren: "We're willing to roll back filibuster and go with the majority vote, and do what is best for the American people," Elizabeth Warren declared in a 2020 presidential debate.
- Ron Wyden: "The American people are looking for bold action to address the country's many problems, and Democrats now have more options than Republicans to overcome Republican obstruction to get it done," he stated in June, according To The New York Times.
Open to Reform (22)
- Michael Bennet: Supported the 2010 bill in order to reduce and limit filibusters' opportunities.
- Bob Casey: "The filibuster wasn't part of the original design of the Founder. I was elected to serve people and not some obscure Senate procedure. wrote that if it comes down to democracy or filibuster, he knows which side he is on in April on Twitter.
- Chris Coons: "I won't stand by for four years and see the Biden administration block its initiatives at every turn," Coons stated in 2020.
- Catherine Cortez Masto: "If McConnell wishes to block action regarding health care, climate change and voting rights, then he should stand on the Senate Floor and be transparent about his obstruction," Masto stated in a statement published in 2020.
- Tammy Duckworth: "Everything's on The Table" she said to WHBF in February.
- Dick Durbin: "Unfortunately we've reached this point. Dick Durbin: "Unfortunately, we've reached that point.
- Dianne Feinstein: "[A speaking filibuster] Is an Idea Worth Discussing," she stated in a March press release. I don't think one party should be allowed to block votes on important bills through the filibuster, and I don't want Senate traditions to change.
- Maggie Hassan: According to NBC , "I have spoken about the importance reforming it," she stated in June.
- Martin Heinrich: "The kind of filibuster use we see makes it impossible for some very basic things that American people demanded," he stated in March according to The Hill.
- John Hickenlooper said Tuesday that he was open to possible changes. Hickenlooper spoke out for NewsHour on Tuesday. It's not my first instinct. Although I feel frustrated, I am open to changing."
- Tim Kaine: "If the majority is going to pass something, you must stand up and prevent them from doing it," Kaine said to CBS in March.
- Angus King: "If...the minority holds together and uses this power regularly to block any and all initiative of the majority [and/or their president], then supporting the continuation and justification of the rule becomes increasingly difficult and harder to justify, regardless the long-term consequences," King wrote as an Op-Ed in March.
- Patrick Leahy: NewsHour was informed by a source that Leahy believes that the filibuster should serve as a tool for bipartisanship. If it is used to block crucial legislation by Republicans, the Senate should reconsider reform.
- Gary Peters: "If the are not acting in good will, then we need to reassess our filibuster rule," Peters stated to WDET on March.
- Jack Reed: "The responsibility lies with Senate Minority Leader McConnell. Reed stated in January that he can either contribute to the effort or create a wall partisan obstruction and further threaten Senate's traditions.
- Chuck Schumer: Schumer stated at a March news conference that "everything is on the table" for passage of a voting rights bill. __S.67__
- Jeanne Shaheen: "I believe we should look into ways to reform filibuster but I don’t think getting rid is the best approach," she stated to CNN in March.
- Debbie Stabenow: "There's really important things, like voting rights, that can't happen through [the 50 vote process of] reconciliation," she stated to reporters in March.
- Jon Tester: "If filibuster is continued to be weaponized, and it ends up gridlock then it doesn’t leave a lot options," he stated to MSNBC early June.
- Mark Warner: "...when it comes to fundamental questions like protecting Americans against draconian attempts to attack their constitutional right of vote, it would be an error to take any option off to the table," Warner wrote to the Washington Postin march, expressing his hope for a bipartisan solution.
- Raphael Warnock: "The attack against voting rights right now, it is so urgent that all options have to be on the table," Warnock stated to NPR on March.
- Sheldon Whitehouse: We have two fronts to focus on. The first is to press the filibuster forward, the issue, and then try to find a solution, which isn’t going to happen by just day one. He told the Washington Post that two more steps were needed to use reconciliation in March.
Unannounced or still deciding (2)
- Tom Carper: Carper declined to answer questions about the filibuster on Tuesday. "There are a lot conversations, a lot discussions, negotiations taking place with respect to voting rights and I'm encouraged." (He repeated this statement when asked about the filibuster).
- Mark Kelly: "When it gets to the point that we're going have, you know? a serious conversation about this, then I'll make a determination based on what is in the best interests of Arizona and the nation," Kelly stated to reporters in April.
For filibuster reform (2)
- Joe Manchin: Joe Manchin wrote "I will not vote weakening or eliminating the filibuster" in an Op-Ed published in the Charleston Gazette June.
- Kyrsten Sinema: "It is no secret that my party opposes eliminating the Senate's sixty-vote threshold," Sinema stated in an OpEd Tuesday. "If anyone thought I would reverse my position since my party controls the Senate, they should be aware that my approach to legislating within Congress is the same regardless of whether my party controls it."