President Joe Biden called for Senate Democrats to force abortion legalization into law nationwide by temporarily suspending the filibuster.
“The most important thing to be clear about is … we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law and the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that,” Biden told reporters during a Thursday press conference.
“And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be … we provide an exception … to the filibuster,” Biden said.
The president was speaking in the backdrop of the 2022 NATO Summit in Madrid, Spain.
“We have to codify Roe v. Wade into law,” President Biden says.
“If the filibuster gets in the way … we should provide an exception to the filibuster to deal with the Supreme Court decision.” pic.twitter.com/mnHPZKY6FI
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 30, 2022
“It’s a serious, serious problem that the court has thrust upon the United States, not just in terms of the right to choose, but in terms of the right to who you can marry … a whole range of issues related to privacy,” Biden continued at the news conference.
Should Senate Democrats in the 50-50 upper chamber of Congress decide to suspend the filibuster, they would be able to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law by a simple majority of 51 votes.
If all 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats vote along party lines and the house is equally divided on the bill, Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, would be able to exercise special voting rights and vote to pass the bill.
Once both chambers of Congress pass the bill, Biden can sign it into law.
Under regular circumstances, however, Senate Democrats require a minimum of 60 votes to pass legislation by overcoming potential hurdles arising from a filibuster.
To suspend the filibuster — a move described as a “nuclear option” — Democrats would need only a simple majority. This is due to a loophole in rule XX of the Standing Rules of the United States Senate.
Rule XX stipulates that a “question of order may be raised at any stage of the proceedings … and … shall be decided by the Presiding Officer without debate, subject to an appeal to the Senate … and every appeal therefrom shall be decided at once, and without debate.”
To trigger a suspension of the filibuster, Democratic Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would first need to raise a point of order, calling for a vote by a simple majority on the bill in question. The Senate President would then deny the point of order, citing Senate rules.
Schumer must then appeal the Chair’s ruling by requesting a majority vote on the ruling, after which the Senate would vote on the ruling by simple majority. Depending on the outcome, the filibuster is suspended, and a new precedent is set.
It remains unclear, however, if all Democrats would be on board with suspending the filibuster, leaving the question of whether Democrats would get the simple majority needed to change Senate rules unanswered.
Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have previously expressed opposition to suspending the filibuster to pass legislation Democrats consider important, despite opposition from fellow Democrats.
Both senators have expressed worries that suspending the filibuster would alter Senate conventions and that this alteration could hurt Democrats when Republicans take control of the Senate and use it against them.
“This question is less about the immediate results from any of these Democratic or Republican goals — it is the likelihood of repeated radical reversals in federal policy, cementing uncertainty, deepening divisions and further eroding Americans’ confidence in our government,” Sinema wrote in a 2021 opinion piece for The Washington Post.
“While many try to ignore this history, they do so without fully understanding the long-term institutional and democratic damage this will do to the Senate and our nation,” Manchin said in a news release from his office earlier this year.
“Allowing one party to exert complete control in the Senate with only a simple majority will only pour fuel onto the fire of political whiplash and dysfunction that is tearing this nation apart – especially when one party controls both Congress and the White House,” Manchin further stated in the news release.
Since the Supreme Court’s landmark Friday ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Democrats have called for a ‘right’ to abortion to be enshrined in federal law.
Biden’s Thursday remarks come as Democrats seek to garner victories desperately ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, which are set to be a challenging period for Democrats in light of Biden’s tanking popularity numbers.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.