Faith leaders demand the elimination of Senate filibuster

Monday’s coalition of religious leaders and activists demands the elimination of Senate filibuster, ambitious about 50-50 Senates and President Joe Biden’s increased voting rights, prevention of gun violence, and other proposals they face. He turned to the law and participated in an important discussion in Washington. Opposition from the Republican Party.

The group, led by prominent progressive Rev. William Barber and other ministers, opposed a mysterious procedural tactic that would allow one senator to stop acting or voting. Some senators have argued for changes or abolitions of the rules, and religious leaders provided direct support online and outside the National City Christian Church in Washington, where they raised signs to “democracy.” Please do not interfere with me. “

“Today we come as priests as pastors, imams, rabbis, Hindu communities, and Muslim communities are challenging the immorality of filibuster,” Barber said. Many senators want to stop open discussions, stop bringing problems to the floor, and address the serious problems we face as people of this country. “

Filibuster has a history of being used to thwart civil rights bills, environmental protection and labor law, he said.

As the United States and Congress became more partisan, filibuster became an important weapon in the Senate, often referred to as a procedural arms race... Year after year, more and more senators are threatening to filibust to block legislation. Overcoming filibuster can take days, if not weeks.

Even if the senator did not have a say, the filibuster forced the senator to vote all night and weekends to advance the bill, as it happened during the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.

“We can’t hire a small number of people to use filibuster, so we don’t deal with voting rights, living wages, or healthcare,” Barber said before the event. .. He is a major civil rights activist and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, a non-profit organization modeled after Martin Luther King Jr.’s organizational activities.

Jim Winkler, chairman and general secretary of the National Church Council, said filibuster was a “certified racist” who repeatedly used filibuster as a “weapon to kill progress in securing voting and civil rights.” Has been used for a long time by. “

“Filibuster should never be used again as a threat to kill legislation,” he said. “It’s a timid tactic designed to prevent progress for the benefit of the country.”

Senators and others who prefer to keep the tradition of filibuster argue that it is a way to ensure minority upset. Usually, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster that requires bipartisan cooperation. Troublesome practices are also moving at a more cautious pace, as the founder intended, in the Senate compared to the House of Representatives, which acts faster.

Proposals circulating in Washington maintain filibuster, but lower the threshold to overcome it to just 51 votes, making it easier to put Biden’s agenda against Republican opposition.

The Senate is now evenly divided, but the Democratic Party has dominated Vice President Kamala Harris in a tiebreaker vote.

It would be difficult to ask for any change to filibuster, especially to abolish it. That’s because the change requires Republican support, and some Democrats in the Senate are similarly reluctant. Biden has indicated that he may accept some changes, including requiring a senator who interferes with the bill to speak up in the meeting room.

Shortly before the event began, Rev. Teresa Horde Owens, Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications of the Christian Church of the United States and Canada (a disciple of Christ), said eradicating poverty, dismantling racism, and ensuring people’s undisturbed rights. He emphasized the importance of issues such as. Vote.

Faith leaders must speak out about the moral implications of law. “I see my voice on these issues as part of a Christian commitment to love Jesus as he loves and love his neighbor as himself,” she said in an email.

Filibuster is “usually a tool of obstruction to the passage of law that protects and cares for those left behind,” Owens wrote. “Given its improper use, we have to find another way to ensure that we can hear the voice, and we can’t get in the way of the bill just because you disagree.”


Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Gary Fields contributed to this report.


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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