Barack Obama spoke at the funeral for John Lewis today and he talked about voting rights and the impact that Lewis had on them over the years. The Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House of Representatives in December of 2019 and was recently renamed after the late Congressman.
The Senate has not taken action on the bill and with the filibuster in place, it would be unlikely to pass even if the Democrats flipped the Senate in November.
Obama said that “If all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do.”
While it takes two-thirds of senators to eliminate the filibuster, a new precedent could be set with only a simple majority of senators.
According to the Senate website, using the filibuster to delay or block legislative action has a long history. The term filibuster—from a Dutch word meaning “pirate”—became popular in the 1850s, when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent a vote on a bill.
There is now pressure for action in some areas blocked by the filibuster and it is becoming sufficiently urgent for Democrats to kill it off. They want to take action on guns, climate change, and immigration, and if they win in November, they are likely to do so to get their wishes.
Obama echoed those sentiments in a tweet earlier where he shared a New York Times article about Lewis and said, “John spent his entire life fighting for justice and equality––and now he has left behind his marching orders for all of us.”
John spent his entire life fighting for justice and equality––and now he has left behind his marching orders for all of us. https://t.co/Cs5H6ckezR— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 30, 2020
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