Politics & Policy

‘Nothing’s Off the Table’: Schumer Says Dems Will ‘Discuss’ Eliminating Filibuster if They Win Majority

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to the press during a break in President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial on Capitol Hill, January 31, 2020. (Amanda Voisard/Reuters)

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) signaled a willingness to end the Senate’s practice of imposing a 60-vote threshold for most legislation in a press conference Tuesday.

When asked by reporters if, like presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, he would be open to ending the filibuster, he said it would be up for discussion if Democrats, who currently hold 47 Senate seats, win the majority.

“Job number one is for us to get the majority. We don’t take anything for granted but it’s looking better and better,” he said. “Once we get the majority, we’ll discuss it in our caucus. Nothing’s off the table.”

Schumer’s statement is almost word-for-word what he said on the topic last year, when he said “nothing’s off the table” and “our first step is to get back the majority.”

Biden said last week that his own decision to eliminate the filibuster would “depend on how obstreperous they become,” speaking of Senate Republicans. “I have not supported the elimination of the filibuster because it’s been used as often … the other way around [for Republicans’ benefit], but I think you have to just take a look at it.” 

Schumer and Biden join a growing group of Democrats who are open to the idea of ending the filibuster, including 18 of the original 26 democratic presidential candidates: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang who expressed full support, and Senators Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D., Texas) who said they would be open to the idea.

Schumer also used Tuesday’s press conference to take aim at Senate Republicans for letting partisanship delay the Senate’s consideration of the $3 trillion HEROES act, a second coronavirus relief bill which passed the House on May 15.

“Faced with the biggest health crisis in 100 years, the biggest economic crisis in 75 years, the Republican leader has put the Senate on pause for three months,” Schumer said.

“Now that Republicans are finally feeling the heat to do another relief bill, instead of working with Democrats leader McConnell has decided to write the bill behind the closed doors of his office — the same partisan, one-side only process that has failed time and time again to produce successful legislation in the Senate,” he said. 

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