“And if all this is needed to take out the filibuster, another vestige of Jim Crow, to secure every American’s God-given rights, then that’s what we should do,” said Obama applause in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Obama is arguably the most prominent political voice calling for an end to the filibuster, with the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end the debate on most legislation and get it to vote. The practice, which is not enshrined in the Constitution, has long given the Senate minority party some say over what legislation is passed by the House.
But the filibuster has also proved to be a roadblock for every party in power. President Donald Trump has regularly called for an end to the Senate filibuster, complaining that Democrats in the Senate minority could block his policy agenda even when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.
GOP legislators also relied heavily on the filibuster during Obama’s tenure, blocking legislation, and affirming the appointed presidents. Obama complained at an event in 2018 that the filibuster made it “almost impossible” to govern.
Obama’s reference to the filibuster as a ‘Jim Crow relic’ is a nod to its history in the 1950s and 60s, when southern segregationist senators used the filibuster to try block multiple civil rights laws.
A push to end the filibuster has gained steam in some in the Democratic Party, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) And former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, both of whom were the top candidates for their party’s presidential candidate in 2020. Former Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime Senator from Delaware who defeated Warren, Buttigieg and others to become the Democratic presidential candidate, said during the primaries that he opposed the removal of the Senate driver, but he has had openness since for indicated.
Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Who could remove the filibuster from Senate rules, said he will not do so as long as he remains in the room on top of the GOP leadership. He has warned Democrats not to change the rules of the filibuster if they take control of the Senate, suggesting that they believe “you may not have full control in the future.”