MADRID, Spain (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden on Thursday said he would support making an exception to the Senate’s filibuster rules to allow Democrats to pass key abortion rights protections amid the controversial decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Speaking at a press conference in Madrid as he wrapped up his meetings with NATO leaders, Biden was asked if he would declare a public health emergency in response to the Court’s decision, something Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has suggested.
“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law. And the way to do that is to make sure that the Congress votes to do that and if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, it should be … an exception … to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision,” the President said.
When asked to clarify his comments, Biden said he would support making an exception to the filibuster rule to protect the right to privacy.
The President’s comments suggest that his view on the filibuster is slightly changing. He has previously said he would not support getting rid of the filibuster altogether and defended the rule, arguing that it’s integral to how the upper chamber operates and is part of its tradition.
“If the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like voting rights, we provide an exception for this,” Biden said. “We require an exception of the filibuster for this action.”
Back in March 2021, Biden said senators should have to “work for the filibuster” in an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos. He followed that up with comments in July 2021 by saying he supports the filibuster rule that getting rid of it would spark “chaos” in Congress and that, “Nothing at all will get done.”
Moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have publicly remained opposed to getting rid of the filibuster and neither of them has joined their Democratic colleagues in calling for a carveout to codify Roe v. Wade.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized Biden’s remarks.
“Attacking a core American institution like the Supreme Court from the world stage is below the dignity of the President,” he said in a press release on Thursday. “Biden’s attacks on the Court are unmerited and dangerous. He’s upset that the Court said the people, through their elected representatives, will have a say on abortion policy.”
After the Supreme Court released its opinion last week overturning Roe, Biden urged Democrats and supporters of those rights to turn out and vote.
“I’m going to do everything in my power I legally can do in terms of protecting abortion, as well as pushing Congress and the public,” he said.
Stephen Michael reported from the United States.