On Thursday former United States President Barack Obama stated it was time to end the Senate's filibuster rules requiring a majority vote to pass legislation. The decision has also been supported by current President Donald Trump previously.
According to the New York Post, the rules of the Senate require at least 60 votes for legislation to be approved to proceed which gives the minority the power to block the passing of the bill or severely modify its contents.
During a speech at the funeral of Georgia Representative John Lewis which was held in Atlanta, Obama urged officials to lower the required number of votes to block legislation from passing.
The former black president of the US suggested making Election Day a federal holiday to increase the number of voters that can attend the event.
The move would enable prisoners the chance to vote which Obama stated would result in the equal representation of DC and Puerto Rico and avoids the manipulation of congressional districts that lean to support one particular party.
In conclusion, Obama stated that if his suggestion required the removal of the filibuster rules, which is considered to be a relic from the Jim Crow laws, then that was what officials should do to ensure that every American gets to use their right to vote.
During his presidency, the filibuster rules stopped Obama from passing a more sweeping national healthcare overhaul as former Senators Max Baucus and Ben Nelson, rebel Democratic centrists, empowered to extract concessions.
Recently, Trump has continuously called for an end to the filibuster rules claiming that Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Minority Leader, would immediately take advantage if or when the Republicans lose hold of the Majority.
Senator Bernie Sanders supported Obama's announcement and stated the filibuster rules allow Democrats to provide legislation that supports the rights and dignity of every American in the country.
Worry of opposition power
However, several top Democrats have been reluctant to support the removal of the filibuster rules due to fears that it would backfire if or when Republicans gained back their power, as reported by the New York Times.
In 2013, after Republicans successfully blocked Obama's judicial nominees, Democrats lowered the threshold that was required for advancing presidential nominees to a majority. The change had enabled Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to push forward through 200 new federal judges.
Despite the many doubts surrounding the proposal, presidential candidate Joe Biden has shown his support of the idea of reducing the filibuster rules' power. Schumer, on the other hand, said a decision of whether to remove the rules or not would have to wait until "nothing's off the table" and states Democrats could see it as a chance to rise in power.
According to CNN, after Obama's speech, some Democrats are still reluctant of the decision. Senator Dick Durbin, when asked on Thursday of his replies to the remarks, said several Democrats were still contemplating the possibility and said it was not something they were prepared to commit to.