President Biden indicated Thursday that he supports an exception to the 60-vote threshold needed to advance legislation in the Senate to codify abortion and privacy rights following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade.
“I believe we need to codify Roe v Wade into law. And the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do it. And if the filibuster gets in the way, it’s like the right to vote, it should be, we make an exception for that. The exception — the required filibuster exception for this action to deal with the Supreme Court’s decision,” Biden told reporters at a press conference in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday.
Pressed moments later to clarify that he was open to changing the filibuster rules for those issues, Biden said, “Privacy rights, not just abortion rights, but yeah, the right to abortion.”
Codify Roe c. Wade requires 60 votes in the Senate, which he currently does not have, unless the filibuster rules are changed to require a simple majority. Leading moderate Democratic senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voiced their opposition to the filibuster rules change. Manchin, however, is open to legislative codification of Roe v. Wade.
Biden also said he would meet with governors on Friday to receive feedback and then have “announcements to make.”
“The first thing we should do is make it clear how outrageous this decision was and how it impacts not just a woman’s right to choose, which is critical, but privacy. in general, on private life in general. And so I’m going to talk to the governors about what action they think I should take as well. But the most important thing to clarify: we need to change, I think we need to codify Roe v Wade into law,” he said.
More context: Nothing indicates that these two senators, Manchin and Sinema, have or will change their positions.
But Biden’s call dovetails with White House efforts to ramp up the emergency ahead of the midterm elections — and it comes amid growing concern among National Democrats that the Biden administration isn’t doing enough to Respond to — and fight — the Supreme Court’s decision.
Despite declining poll numbers and dim prospects of maintaining the Democratic majority in the House, the White House sees a way to win Senate seats to boost its slim majority.
Retaining their current seats and adding at least two new Democratic senators could, in theory, pave the way to securing votes for a change in Senate rules.