Biden backs exception to filibuster for voting rights bills

President BidenJoe BidenGOP’s Rice says he regrets Jan. 6 vote against Biden’s election Fauci says large holiday gatherings not safe — even with booster Clyburn tests positive for COVID-19 in breakthrough case MORE says he supports creating an exception to the legislative filibuster in the Senate in order to pass voting rights legislation over Republican opposition. 

Biden told ABC News’s David Muir in a portion of an interview that aired Thursday that he would support fundamental changes to Senate rules in order to pass election reform legislation. 

“That means whatever it takes. Change the Senate rules to accommodate major pieces of legislation without requiring 60 votes,” Biden said.

When asked to clarify that he supported a carveout for voting rights legislation from the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most bills in the Senate, Biden said that he did. 

“The only thing standing between getting voting rights legislation passed and not getting passed is the filibuster, I support making an exception on voting rights of the filibuster,” Biden said. 

The remarks are similar to those that Biden made during a CNN town hall in October, when he opened the door to “fundamentally” altering or eliminating the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCongressional Black Caucus calls for Senate to reconvene, pass voting rights legislation A congressional Christmas miracle Does anyone like Congress anymore? MORE (D-N.Y.) said earlier this week Democrats would take up voting rights legislation upon returning to Washington in January and warned they would pursue changes to the Senate rules if Republicans continue to block the legislation as they did several times in the past year.

But despite support among Biden and other Democrats, Schumer does not have the unanimous support within the Democratic caucus he would need to change the Senate rules. Moderate Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Biden extends student loan relief Overnight Health Care — FDA endorses first pill to treat COVID-19 Energy & Environment — Advocates look for Plan B climate legislation MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaTrump’s tax law hits four-year anniversary in a safer spot Progressives look to regroup after Build Back Better blowup Manchin bailed Biden out on Build Back Better MORE (D-Ariz.) have said they would not support eliminating or watering down the filibuster.

Biden has faced pressure from civil rights leaders and other advocates to do more to advance voting rights legislation. 

Democrats are debating a range of options on filibuster reform, including returning to a “talking filibuster,” which Biden has said he supports, or changing the rules so that 41 votes are required to maintain a filibuster, rather than 60 votes to break one.

“The President’s belief … on voting rights is that if the Republicans continue to obstruct, then we are going to look at what needs to be done to get it done.  We’re not quite there yet, but we, of course, will continue those discussions with Leader Schumer,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSupreme Court to hear challenges to vaccine mandates in early January Biden says he plans to run for reelection in 2024 ‘if I’m in good health’ Briefing in brief: Biden White House gives a nod to Trump MORE told reporters at a briefing Wednesday. 

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