Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Kill the Filibuster

Demonstrators calls for the abolition of the Senate filibuster at a June 10, 2021 protest in New York City. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

As Biden Dodges Issue, Progressives Urge Dem Senators to 'Repeal the Filibuster'

"Our democracy is at stake," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "The last thing we want to see is wonderful speeches and public-facing statements, but no actual legislative movement on voting rights."

Brett Wilkins

As U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday implored Congress to pass two landmark pro-democracy bills—the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Act—scores of advocacy groups joined progressive lawmakers in urging Senate Democratic leadership to abolish the filibuster, which time and again has been used to thwart progressive legislation. 

"Passing the For the People Act is indeed a national imperative, but the only way to do so is to repeal the filibuster."
—Rep. Mondaire Jones

In an impassioned Tuesday afternoon speech in Philadelphia, Biden excoriated efforts by Republicans and the previous administration to overturn the results of the 2020 general election and disenfranchise millions of voters, calling GOP voter suppression bills a "21st-century Jim Crow assault" on democracy.

Biden called passing broad voting rights legislation a "national imperative." But he dodged the filibuster issue, failing to mention it in his address. When asked about it by reporters afterward he said, "I'm not filibustering now."

Progressive lawmakers and advocates, however, argued that ending the filibuster is an indispensable step to ensure passage of voting rights and other pro-democracy legislation that otherwise would not garner the requisite support from 60 senators to hold a vote. They pointed to GOP senators' recent blocking debate of the For the People Act—which passed the House—via the filibuster to underscore the need to end the racist-rooted obstruction vehicle.

"Passing the For the People Act is indeed a national imperative, but the only way to do so is to repeal the filibuster," tweeted Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) after Biden's speech. "Anyone who says otherwise is missing the point."

In a call to end the filibuster, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that "the White House must use every piece of leverage it has to protect the right to vote. Our democracy is at stake. The last thing we want to see is wonderful speeches and public-facing statements, but no actual legislative movement on voting rights."

Fix Our Senate, Battle Born Collective, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common Cause, Demand Justice, Indivisible, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Stand Up America, and over 80 other advocacy groups sent a letter (pdf) to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday calling on him to move to abolish the "outdated and abused" filibuster.

"Protecting Americans' voting rights and strengthening the fundamentals of our democracy should not be partisan issues," the letter states. "However, the unfortunate reality is that [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] and his colleagues think voter suppression and gerrymandering are good for their political party. They want to continue to use the filibuster as their preferred weapon to silence voters."

The letter continues:

Republicans' insistence on obstructing the majority's will in the U.S. Senate is matched by their effort to suppress the people's vote in state legislatures. As the Brennan Center for Justice notes, 14 states have enacted more than 20 laws this year that will make it harder for Americans to vote. The burden will disproportionately impact Black and brown voters. Together, it creates a dangerous moment for American democracy and Americans' basic rights, one from which we may not return.

We agree with your repeated promise that "failure is not an option" when it comes to voting rights. To ensure progress in the face of partisan obstruction, we... urge you to hold another vote on voting rights legislation like the For The People Act before the August recess. Further delay risks a decade of Republican-controlled gerrymandering and Republican-controlled state voter suppression laws taking effect.

"If, as expected, Sen. McConnell and his Republican caucus again filibuster voting rights legislation—or once again filibuster simply allowing debate to begin—we urge you to move quickly to protect our democracy by eliminating the filibuster as a weapon that Sen. McConnell can use to block voting rights legislation and other urgent reforms," the letter concludes. "The filibuster cannot be allowed to stand in the way of Americans' voting rights and our democracy."

Common Cause president Karen Hobart Flynn said in a separate statement that "the For the People Act has already passed the House. Republicans filibustered it last month. If the Senate can bypass the filibuster to send core elements of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan to President Biden's desk, it ought to be able to do the same for anti-corruption legislation that protects the freedom to vote, breaks the grip of big money in politics, and ends gerrymandering."

All it would take to end the filibuster is the political will to do so and the support of conservative Democrats including Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), both of whom oppose abolition.

As progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann noted on Tuesday, "because the filibuster is built into Senate rules and not a 'law,' it can be changed with a simple majority of Senate votes: 50 plus one," meaning Vice President Kamala Harris. "It needs to be changed now."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·

'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·

After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo