Former President Obama authored an op-ed in USA Today Wednesday that, once again, contradicts his previous take on the filibuster in the Senate.

As the Democrats attempt to pass their expansive voting overhaul bills through Congress, Republicans are being accused of holding up the line. The former president argued that for this reason, Democrats should clear President Biden's path and end the filibuster, which creates a 60-vote threshold to advance legislation.

"The filibuster has no basis in the Constitution," he wrote. "Historically, the parliamentary tactic was used sparingly – most notably by Southern senators to block civil rights legislation and prop up Jim Crow. In recent years, the filibuster became a routine way for the Senate minority to block important progress on issues supported by the majority of voters. But we can’t allow it to be used to block efforts to protect our democracy."


Former President Barack Obama speaks at a rally to support Michigan Democratic candidates at Detroit Cass Tech High School on Oct. 26, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

"That’s why I fully support President Joe Biden’s call to modify Senate rules as necessary to make sure pending voting rights legislation gets called for a vote," he continued. "And every American who cares about the survival of our most cherished institutions should support the president’s call as well."

But Obama didn’t always find the filibuster to be an outdated tactic. In 2005, then-Sen. Obama of Illinois fought against ending the filibuster, arguing that Americans don’t expect political parties to "change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet." At the time, Republican President George W. Bush was in the White House and Republicans held unified control of Congress.

Vice President Joseph Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applaud President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address on Jan. 27, 2010, in Washington. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

"If the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to Democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse," he said.

Obama opened his op-ed with mention of the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., whom he had given a eulogy for in July 2020. The eulogy suggested eliminating the filibuster as "another Jim Crow relic." 

Following Lewis’ mantra that democracy isn’t a given, Obama stressed in the op-ed that the American people must "vigilantly preserve and protect our most basic tool of self-government, which is the right to vote."

Obama John Lewis Medal Freedom

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

"Now is the time for all of us to follow John Lewis' example. Now is the time for the U.S. Senate to do the right thing," he said. "America’s long-standing grand experiment in democracy is being sorely tested. Future generations are counting on us to meet that test."