President Biden stops briefly to talk to the press as he walks toward Marine One on March 16. Stephanopoulos asked Biden. "Yes", the president answered.
The filibuster is not just an arcane procedural rule on Capitol Hill. The current rules put the onus on the majority to marshal 60 votes-which no majority will have anytime in our lifetimes, probably, from here on out. But there's been increasing concern that filibusters have led to a permanent stalemate in a polarized political environment.
Republicans in recent years have effectively weaponized the practice, and some Democrats, newly and narrowly empowered in the Senate, have called to reform the procedure or do away with it altogether. Garnering 10 Republican votes to break a filibuster could be impossible. McConnell took the same step to make it easier for President Trump to appoint three new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Republicans have for a long period of time used immigration as a political football to impart fear and apprehension in the minds of Americans", he said.
As a former senator, the president is a longtime defender of the chamber's traditions.
McConnell on Tuesday quoted Durbin from a 2018 interview with ABC, in which he said the filibuster is essential to the Senate. "It's getting to the point where, you know, democracy is having a hard time functioning".
He also said he was open to making changes.
In his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Biden spoke about the opposition he faces from Senate Republicans on several areas of his agenda. "You had to get up and take charge of the room, and you had to keep talking".
Keep talking? Isn't that like the Jimmy Stewart movie?
In earlier eras, senators would seize the floor, speaking for hours about their objections.
So why don't senators do that anymore?
Senate Democrats are privately discussing changing the filibuster's decades-old rules, which allow a single senator to obstruct a bill by objecting. If they don't, the bill has been filibustered.
One benchmark is the number of cloture motions sought to end debate on an issue.
Would it help to have a "talking filibuster?"
"If a senator insists on blocking the will of the Senate, he [or she] should have to pay some minimal price of being present". So modifying the rules like Biden suggested may not open the floodgates like progressives are hoping for. Funding methods could include raising taxes on Americans earning above $400,000 as well as large corporations. And Biden said he's comfortable pushing forward without any Republican votes.
"I am. That's what it was supposed to be", Biden said. They can do that sometimes, but eventually Democrats-or any future majority-would wear them down and find a moment where enough of them are literally sleeping that they can move it across the floor.
With the current Senate split 50-50, Democrats have said they may need to do away with the filibuster to pass Biden's priorities, including a bill already approved by the House of Representatives meant to facilitate voting in elections.
"Let me say this very clearly for all 99 of my colleagues: Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin - can even begin to imagine - what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like", McConnell said Tuesday.
Moderate Democrats have resisted changing the rules, but Republican intransigence could sap their patience.
Previously under President Donald Trump, Durbin and other Democrats claimed ending the filibuster "would be the end of the Senate." Sen.
"Does anyone really believe the American people were voting for an entirely new system of government by electing Joe Biden to the White House and a 50-50 senate?"
Graham said the situation at the border makes it "much harder" to come together on a reform package and predicted a comprehensive bill won't survive in the Senate this year.
And other parts of Biden's agenda await action.
"Well, I can tell you that would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our Founding Fathers", Sen.