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Biden speaks on Senate filibuster

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During his first White House press conference, President Biden on Thursday spoke about changing the Senate’s filibuster rule.

Video Transcript

PRESIDENT BIDEN: With regard to the filibuster, I believe we should go back to a position on the filibuster that existed just when I came to the United States Senate 120 years ago. And that is that it used to be required for the filibuster-- and I had a card on this. I was going to give you the statistics, but you probably know them.

That it used to be that from between 1917 and 1971 the filibuster existed, there were a total of 58 motions to break a filibuster. That whole time. Last year alone, there were five times that many. So it's being abused in a gigantic way.

And for example, it used to be you had to stand there and talk and talk and talk and talk until you collapsed. And guess what? People got tired of talking and tired of collapsing. Filibusters broke down and we were able to break the filibuster, get a quorum and vote.

So I strongly support moving in that direction. In addition to having an open mind about dealing with certain things that are just elemental to the functioning of our democracy, like the right to vote. Like the basic right to vote. We've amended the filibuster in the past. But here's the deal.

As you've observed, I'm a fairly practical guy. I want to get things done. I want to get them done consistent with what we promised the American people. And in order to do that in a 50-50 Senate, we've got to get to the place where I get 50 votes so that the Vice President of the United States can break the tie, or I get 51 votes without her.

And so I'm going to say something outrageous. I have never been particularly poor and calculated how to get things done in the United States Senate. So the best way to get something done, if you hold near and dear to you that you like to be able to-- anyway.

We're going to get a lot done. And if we have to, if there's complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we'll have to go beyond what I'm talking about.