President Joe Biden got over his skis again Thursday when he called for Senate Democrats to end the filibuster to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade.
The problem now is the same as it was when he made a similar push late last year to bypass the filibuster to get “voting rights” legislation through Congress: Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are not onboard.
And with the Senate divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, that’s a problem for Biden.
During a news conference in Madrid on Thursday, a reporter asked the 46th president, “What further specific executive actions are you considering in response to the Roe ruling?”
Biden responded, “I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law. And the way to do that is to make sure that Congress votes to do that.
“And if the filibuster gets in the way … require an exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”
Joe Biden calls for eliminating the filibuster to legalize abortion nationwide until the moment of birth. pic.twitter.com/okoVAdgA8R
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 30, 2022
The Supreme Court ruled last week that the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision was made in error. There is no constitutionally protected federal right to an abortion, and therefore the matter is left to the states.
Both Manchin and Sinema’s position on preserving the filibuster hasn’t changed in light of the Dobbs ruling or Biden calling for congress to eliminate it in order to codify Roe v. Wade, their spokespeople tell me
— Alayna Treene (@alaynatreene) June 30, 2022
CNN congressional correspondent Manu Raju tweeted, “Sinema stands by her opposition to gutting the 60-vote threshold despite Biden’s call for a carveout on abortion rights. Her office points to this op-ed: ‘And, sometimes, the filibuster … is needed to protect against attacks on women’s health.'”
Sinema stands by her opposition to gutting the 60-vote threshold despite Biden’s call for a carveout on abortion rights. Her office points to this op-ed: “And, sometimes, the filibuster … is needed to protect against attacks on women’s health” https://t.co/adP0ioNwfJ
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 30, 2022
As the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization came before the high court — regarding Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks — the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act in September.
The legislation fell short in the Senate in May when it did not meet the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome the filibuster, NPR reported.
All Democratic senators, except Manchin, voted to end the debate, so the effort went down 49-51.
Manchin said at the time he would vote to codify Roe, but the Women’s Health Protection Act apparently went too far for him.
Moderate Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also did not vote for the bill, though both are pro-Roe.
“Consistent with Roe and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey, I support reasonable limits on abortion services related to maternal health,” Murkowski said at the time. “I oppose late-term abortion, as long as there are clear and workable exceptions in the case of rape, incest or when a woman’s life is threatened. I also oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and oppose any requirement for individuals to provide these services against their religious beliefs.”
The Washington Post reported that the bill “would eliminate a list of what proponents describe as ‘medically unnecessary’ antiabortion restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods, antiabortion counseling, telemedicine bans and various regulations on the layout, structure and staffing policies at abortion clinics, which have forced many clinics to shutter.”
Presumably, parental notification for minors would go down too.
The law Biden wants to eliminate the filibuster for would:
*force virtually limitless abortion until the moment of birth
*eviscerate parental notification laws
*eliminate many popular health and safety protectionshttps://t.co/w5Nx94QLpb
— Tommy Pigott (@TommyPigott) June 30, 2022
Manchin’s and Sinema’s opposition to ending the filibuster is with the long game in mind.
Last year, when the issue came up regarding federal voting rights legislation, Manchin explained that changing or manipulating the filibuster rule is “a tough one … because what goes around comes around here. You’ve got to be very careful what you do.”
Similarly, Sinema said on ABC’s “The View,” “People seem to not like the filibuster when they’re the ones who want to pass the legislation.”
“But when we’re in the minority,” she continued, “we being either Democrats or Republicans — we use the filibuster a lot to force dialogue, to bring people together and to make changes.”
And Democrats could find themselves in the minority in a few short months following November’s midterm elections.
When the history is written about this time in American politics, Manchin and Sinema will deserve a place in it for keeping the country from veering into destructive left-wing radicalism.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.