Progressive Groups Urge Chuck Schumer To Abolish Senate Filibuster

Damir Mujezinovic

More than 60 progressive groups have signed a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to abolish the filibuster, The Hill reported on Friday.

The parliamentary procedure, which allows the minority party to block legislation it opposes, has to be removed if Democrats want to deliver for the American people, the letter said.

"The results of this election have unlocked the door to change, but another clear obstacle remains: the rules of the United States Senate that allow a partisan minority to block legislation and will prevent the Senate from governing and delivering on the promises they made to voters if they are left in place."

As The Hill noted, though Republicans have been accused of abusing the filibuster, Democrats have used it to their advantage as well. Notably, they utilized the procedure when former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to pass legislation to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Support for abolishing the filibuster has grown in recent years, but some warn that nixing it would be counterproductive as it would exclude the minority party from the process and allow whichever side controls the upper chamber to pass bills without significant objections.

Schumer and his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell came to a power-sharing agreement in the evenly split chamber. Schumer did not commit to keeping the filibuster, but moderate Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have indicated that they would not supporting doing away with it.

As reported by The Associated Press, after reaching an agreement with Schumer, McConnell said that destroying the procedural tool would set a dangerous precedent and breed chaos in the upper chamber.

"They would guarantee themselves immediate chaos. Destroying the filibuster would drain comity and consent from this body to a degree that would be unparalleled in living memory," he told reporters.

Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts told the publication that he realizes Biden is a traditionalist, but stressed that Democrats will not be able to pass big agenda items with 50 votes.