The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jackie Howell,

Statement Of Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer On Senator Romney's Disingenuous Case For Protecting The Filibuster Rules


Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) has an op-ed in The Washington Post today in which he makes a disingenuous case for protecting the filibuster rules.

He makes his case based on creating an incorrect impression that Senate Democrats are seeking to fully repeal the Senate filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation.

He has to know that this isn't the case. What is currently being considered in the Senate is a change in the filibuster rules that would allow voting rights legislation to pass by a majority vote - not a full repeal of the Senate filibuster rules.

Senator Romney suggests in his op-ed that Senate Republicans have not been a part of any conversation regarding the voting rights legislation. In crafting the Freedom to Vote Act, however, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) made clear that he wanted bipartisan support, and he worked hard to negotiate with and obtain Republican support in the Senate. No Republican, including Senator Romney, has been willing to join with Senator Manchin in his effort to enact the Freedom to Vote Act.

Senator Romney deigns to label the Manchin compromise Freedom to Vote Act wrongly, calling it a "message bill" when the measure is necessary to override an unprecedented wave of state voter suppression laws and to protect the ability of millions of Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote.

The change to the filibuster rules that is being considered today would have the same kind of effect as the change made by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his Senate Republican colleagues in 2017 to allow Supreme Court Justices to bypass the filibuster rules and be confirmed by majority vote.

What Senator Romney conveniently fails to mention in his op-ed is that he himself had no problem using the McConnell-led change in the filibuster rules that allowed the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett by majority vote. Cloture was invoked by a 51-to-48 vote, including Senator Romney's yes vote, and Barrett was confirmed 52-to-48, including Senator Romney's yes vote.

Changes to allow measures to pass the Senate by majority vote without being subject to the filibuster rules have been routine over the years with 161 exceptions to the filibuster rules having been enacted in the Senate between 1969 and 2014.

Senator Romney's position, apparently, is that it is perfectly okay for Senate Republicans to make a change to bypass the filibuster rules to confirm a Supreme Court Justice by majority vote, but it is wrong for Senate Democrats to make a similar change in order to protect our democracy by passing essential voting rights legislation by majority vote.

Senator Romney has wrongly presented the situation today by arguing that Democrats are seeking to fully kill the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation.

He's wrong and he knows it.

Democracy 21 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to making democracy work for all Americans. Democracy 21, and its education arm, Democracy 21 Education Fund, work to eliminate the undue influence of big money in American politics, prevent government corruption, empower citizens in the political process and ensure the integrity and fairness of government decisions and elections. The organization promotes campaign finance reform and other related political reforms to accomplish these goals.

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