Elizabeth Warren Wants To Get Rid Of The Senate Filibuster

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), one of several Democrats running for the party's nomination in the 2020 presidential race, speaks during a campaign event, March 8, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Senator Elizabeth Warren is calling for an end to the legislative filibuster. The 2020 presidential candidate will make a formal announcement today where she will denounce the 60-vote minimum that has become the standard for passing major legislation as a tool used to “block progress on racial justice,” according to CNN.

The Massachusetts senator is the first major player in the race to endorse the drastic change, which would allow the dominant party in the Senate to pass legislation with a simple majority. Warren will make the announcement at the National Action Network on Friday, and some parts of her planned speech have already been released to the press.

“When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We’re done with two sets of rules — one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats,” Warren will announce. “And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster.”

The announcement comes just after Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to invoke the “nuclear option” to speed up the process of pushing through presidential nominees by shortening the confirmation debate time.

Warren is expected to point to a bill that passed the Senate last year making lynching a federal crime. The law was first introduced in 1922 when it passed the House but was later stopped in the Senate by a filibuster and has been filibustered numerous times since then.

“More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right,” she is expected to say.

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Warren has been open about considering the option of eliminating the filibuster, which has created a debate around the idea that Democrats may need the tool in the future to stop a Republican agenda should the balance of power shift between the parties. However, political analysts argue that there is little chance of either party gaining a 60-seat majority in the Senate with the current political climate in the U.S.

Supporters of eliminating the filibuster say that it has been used as a tool by conservatives to hold back any sort of meaningful legislation. Warren is expected to point out McConnell’s pledge to block all new legislation under Obama as evidence of their abuse of the filibuster.