AOC calls for the Senate to abolish the filibuster amid voting rights showdown

Democrats, Republicans continue to battle over filibuster into holiday weekend

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday re-upped her calls for the Senate to eliminate the legislative filibuster so Democrats can pass sweeping reforms while in control of Congress and the White House.

The New York Democrat voiced her support for getting rid of the 60-vote threshold in response to a tweet from President Biden on Wednesday. Biden called for the passage of major federal voting rights legislation to combat the "all-out assault on our democracy" as GOP-led states change their election laws.

"Abolish the filibuster," the progressive Squad member posted in response to Biden's tweet.

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The House already passed the massive election overhaul legislation, known as H.R. 1. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he'd bring the election legislation up for a vote in the Senate later this month, which would set the stage for a big clash on whether Democrats jettison the Senate tradition of a 60-vote threshold.

Tensions around the filibuster debate escalated when Republicans last week used their first legislative filibuster during the Biden presidency to block consideration of forming a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Democrats needed 10 Republicans to join them in a procedural vote to start debate on the legislation, but just six Republicans broke rank, effectively killing the commission legislation that former President Donald Trump opposes.

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Now Democrats want to pass their top legislative priority, the election reform bill known as the For the People Act, which would set federal standards for voting access and establish publically financed congressional elections. It's a priority for Biden, as well.

Republicans are united in their opposition to the legislation, which they've panned as a federal takeover of elections. But it's not even clear that Democrats could get all 50 of their members on board to pass S.1, with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a holdout and repeat defender of the filibuster.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks at a news conference to reintroduce the Green New Deal and introduce the Civilian Climate Corps Act at the Capitol Reflecting Pool near the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)  ( (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images))

Even Biden Tuesday issued a veiled rebuke of Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate from Arizona, who has also resisted nuking the filibuster. Biden laid blame Tuesday on two Democrats for failure to pass the voting rights legislation.

"I hear all the folks on TV saying why doesn't Biden get this done?" the president said in an address after meeting survivors of the Tulsa race massacre.

"Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends," he added, a rare public rebuke of members of his own party.

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Ocasio-Cortez and her progressive colleagues in the House have long been in favor of abolishing the filibuster so Democrats can deliver on big agenda items they say voters elected them to enact, including D.C. statehood, police reform, gun control legislation and social safety net programs.

"Preserving the filibuster is not worth letting millions of people in this country go hungry, sleep in their cars, or struggle to afford baby formula," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted back in February.

Marisa Schultz Fox News