Biden Throws in Towel on Filibuster to Pass Abortion Expansion
President Joe Biden has admitted that he does not have enough support in his own party to suspend the filibuster, a necessary step for Democrats to pass a nationwide expansion of abortion.
The filibuster, a longstanding Senate tradition, requires some bills to pass with 60 votes instead of a raw majority. Biden wanted to reduce the necessary vote threshold in order to strike down state pro-life laws enacted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
Biden launched into the topic on Thursday while responding to a poll that said 85% of Americans believe the country is moving in the wrong direction. U.S. voters “do not think that,” he fired back, asserting that we have “the strongest economy” in the world. “The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States by overruling … Roe v. Wade,” said Biden at the NATO summit in Madrid, criticizing his political opponents on foreign soil.
“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” Biden continued. “If the filibuster gets in the way,” the Senate should create an “exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
But on Friday, Biden told a virtual meeting of Democratic governors that the move was already doomed. “The filibuster should not stand in the way of us being able to do that, but right now we don’t have the votes in the Senate to change the filibuster,” Biden confessed. “We need two more votes.”
Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) withstood pressure to end the filibuster to pass the Biden administration’s big-ticket legislation earlier this year. EMILY’s List — a PAC that funds female candidates who support abortion — threatened in January that unless Sinema abandons her fervent support for the filibuster, “we will be unable to endorse her moving forward.” EMILY’s List was Sinema’s top financial backer in 2018, donating more than $400,000 to her campaign, according to a breakdown of federal data from OpenSecrets.org.
Sinema’s office announced Thursday that her view had not changed. Manchin, a pro-life Democrat, also appears steadfast on the issue.
Some of their most extreme colleagues have resorted to extreme measures to get their abortion message across. After being arrested during a pro-abortion demonstration outside the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court on Thursday, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said, “I am ramping up my calls to abolish the Senate filibuster — and actively exploring every option to ensure we pass my bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act.”
“Lives are at stake,” Chu added.
“There’s a reason that the Democrats have never codified Roe v. Wade, even when they had big majorities in both houses [of Congress] and they had the White House, as well. And that’s because their position is far too radical for the American people,” Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) told The Washington Stand. “They don’t have the votes to do it.”
Less than one in five voters believes abortion should be legal in all cases without exception, a recent Pew Research Center poll found. Breaking the filibuster to pass a bill suppressing potentially dozens of democratically enacted, state pro-life laws would open “a Pandora’s box that we could never close again,” said Johnson. Yet the Democratic Party’s far-Left flank has intensified its call to quash pro-life legislation by any means necessary. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) have renewed calls to abolish the filibuster.
Since the Supreme Court handed down a decision left-wing politicians disagree with, they “want to burn the institutions to the ground to enforce [their] unpopular policy on the country,” said Johnson. After Dobbs, “you’ll see unrest; you’ll see calls for radical things from Washington to the state houses.”
Democrats likely struggle to gin up popular support for their ideology, in part, because for nearly 50 years “the Left has relied on a liberal, activist court to do their bidding,” Family Research Council Tony Perkins told TWS.
A shift in pro-life strategy nearly two decades ago paved the way for President Donald Trump to appoint three pro-life Supreme Court justices, who voted to revoke Roe. “When the court made that errant ruling in 1973 in Roe, they invented the right to abortion out of thin air. Effectively, they got a majority on the Supreme Court to act like a legislature and impose this consequential policy on the American people,” Johnson explained. “And the result, as we know, is more than 63 million American children” whose lives ended in “unspeakable tragedy.”
“We now have what amounts to a supermajority on the Supreme Court” of justices who “will faithfully interpret and apply the Constitution as it’s written. They’ll be faithful to the text.” They won’t regard the document, “as the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, as ‘a living and breathing document’” capable of growing and developing to fit the judge’s personal views.
“We are getting back to the original intent of the Constitution,” said Johnson. “And it is a long time coming.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.