Biden remains opposed to eliminating the Senate filibuster, White House official says

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Alex Brandon
  • Kate Bedingfield said that President Biden continues to oppose eliminating the Senate filibuster.
  • “His preference is not to end the filibuster,” she said on Sunday.
  • Bedingfield’s comments highlight a divide between the White House and progressive lawmakers.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

White House Communications director Kate Bedingfield on Sunday said that President Joe Biden continues to oppose eliminating the Senate filibuster.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Bedingfield said that Biden, a 36-year veteran of the upper chamber, remains committed to forging bipartisan consensus with the GOP, even after a narrow 50-49 party-line vote to approve the latest COVID-19 relief package.

Bedingfield stated that Biden aims to keep the filibuster in place.

“It is still his position,” she said. “His preference is not to end the filibuster. He wants to work with Republicans, to work with independents. He believes that we are stronger when we build a broad coalition of support.”

Host Jake Tapper then asked Bedingfield how the administration would handle other pieces of legislation, including H.R.1, the massive election overhaul that passed in the House last week, along with the party’s longtime push to raise the minimum wage to $US15 ($20).

The $US1.9 ($2) trillion COVID-19 relief bill was passed through the budget reconciliation process, which was able to overcome the usual 60-vote threshold for legislation to proceed.

—CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 7, 2021

With the Senate evenly split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans and Vice President Kamala Harris having the ability to break ties, every Democratic member has to be on board to proceed with major pieces of legislation unless Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York can pick up support from the dwindling number of GOP moderates.

Still, Bedingfield argued that the relief package had bipartisan support in the public sphere and among elected officials.

“We also got it done with the support of 75 percent of the American people, including over 50 percent of Republicans,” she said. “We able to pass this legislation with massive bipartisan support across the country. You had something like 400 mayors, Republicans and Democrats, come out in support of the rescue plan.”

Bedingfield’s comments highlight the divide between the White House and progressive lawmakers who argue that a minimum wage hike and voting rights legislation will not survive the Senate’s 60-vote threshold.

While progressives have pushed for Senate Democrats to ax the filibuster, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are strongly opposed to the idea.