There are renewed calls among liberal Democrats to eliminate the legislative filibuster in the U.S. Senate, after Republicans used it to block the Dems' election bill earlier this week. That prompted far-left Democrats like Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) to demand ending the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to advance debate on any piece of legislation in the Senate. Without the rule, Democrats could move and pass legislation with a simple majority. The Senate is currently tied 50-50 but Democrats hold the tiebreaking vote with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Democrats have been talking about doing away with the filibuster for months since taking narrow control of the Senate, despite warnings that it could backfire on them in the long run. "Democrats right now are entirely focused on getting the Biden administration's agenda through the Senate," says Mark Jones, Rice University political science professor. "They aren't thinking about what the long-term institutional consequences are."
So far, President Biden has not endorsed ending the filibuster, although he has hinted he may not stand in the way if Democrats tried to do it. But it doesn't matter anyway, since two Senate Democrats are already standing in their party's way. "Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have adamantly opposed getting rid of the filibuster," says Jones. "And unless those two change their minds or Democrats elect more senators, the filibuster will remain."
"So until such point that we see Manchin and Sinema say they're willing to give up the filibuster, we should expect that it will continue to be alive and well."