Biden would consider ending filibuster for voting rights 'and maybe more'

Biden noted he risked losing 'at least three votes right now' on his spending bill by entering filibuster debate

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President Biden said Thursday he is open to the possibility of altering or eliminating the filibuster to pass federal voting rights legislation "and maybe more," an admission that marked a reversal of his previous stance.

Biden initially appeared reluctant to address filibuster reform during his appearance at a CNN town hall, noting that he risked losing "at least three votes right now" on his spending bill. Sen. Joe Manchin and other moderates oppose altering or abolishing the filibuster.

When pressed on his stance, Biden said he supported restoring a requirement that lawmakers "hold the floor" to maintain a filibuster. The president added that Congress was approaching a point "where we fundamentally alter the filibuster," citing recent moves by Republicans to block votes on raising the federal debt limit and on a sweeping Democrat-backed federal elections overhaul.

BIDEN SAYS ABOLISHING FILIBUSTER WOULD ‘THROW ENTIRE CONGRESS INTO CHAOS’

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"The idea that, for example, my Republican friends say we’re going to default on the national debt because we’re going to filibuster that and we need 10 Republicans to support us is the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard," Biden said.

"If that gets pulled again, I think you’re going to see an awful lot of Democrats being ready to say, not me, I’m not doing that again, we’re going to end the filibuster," he added.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Biden to explain what he meant by fundamentally altering the filibuster.

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore, with moderator Anderson Cooper. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore, with moderator Anderson Cooper. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"That remains to be seen exactly what that means in terms of fundamentally altering it, whether or not we just end the filibuster straight up," Biden said. "There are certain things that are just sacred rights."

Near the end of the exchange, Cooper asked Biden whether he would entertain ending the filibuster entirely on the one issue of voting rights legislation.

"And maybe more," Biden said in response.

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore, with moderator Anderson Cooper. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theater, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Baltimore, with moderator Anderson Cooper. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Progressives have repeatedly called on Biden to support abolishing the filibuster to address election reforms. Republicans have used the filibuster to block votes on Democrat-backed legislation on three separate occasions this year.

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Biden reiterated his opposition to the idea in July, arguing abolishing the filibuster despite fierce GOP objections would "throw the entire Congress into chaos."

In March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Biden risked a "scorched earth" Congress if he backed efforts to end the filibuster.