President Joe Biden said he is against getting rid of the filibuster at a CNN town hall event on Wednesday hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon.
LEMON: I understand that. But what difference does that — if you hold the floor for, you know, a day or a year, what difference does it make? Here’s the thing for me. You talked about people — and this is important for people who look like me.
My grandmother would sit around when I was a kid, 5th grade, had a 5th grade education. I learned that she couldn’t read when I was doing my homework. And she would tell me stories about people asking her to count the number of jelly beans in the jar–
LEMON: — or the soap in — so why is protecting the filibuster, is that more important than protecting voting rights, especially for people who fought and died for that?
BIDEN: No. It’s not. I want to see the United States Congress, the United States Senate, pass S. 1 and S. 4, the John Lewis Act, get them to my desk so I can sign it.
But here’s the deal. What I also want to do, I want to make sure we bring along not just all the Democrats. We bring along Republicans who I know, know better. They know better than this.
And what I don’t want to do is get wrapped up right now `in the argument whether or not this is all about the filibuster or — look, the American public, you can’t stop them from voting. You tried last time. More people voted last time than at any time in American history in the middle of the worst pandemic in American history. More people did.
And they showed up. They’re going to show up again. They’re going to do it again. But what I want to do is, I’m trying to bring the country together. And I don’t want the debate to only be about whether or not we have a filibuster or exceptions to the filibuster or going back to the way the filibuster had to be used before.
LEMON: But isn’t that the only way you’re going to get it done right now?
BIDEN: No, I don’t believe that. I think we can get it done.
LEMON: If you — you agree with the former president. He has called — as you called him, your old boss, that it’s a relic of Jim Crow.
BIDEN: It is.
LEMON: If it’s a relic of Jim Crow, it’s been used to fight against civil rights legislation historically, why protect it?
BIDEN: There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done. And there’s a lot at stake. The most important one is the right to vote. That’s the single most important one. And your vote counted and counted by someone who honestly counts it.
But it goes beyond that. For example, wouldn’t my friends on the other side love to have a debate about the filibuster instead of passing the Recovery Act? Or wouldn’t they love doing it instead of being in a position where we provide for — how many of you have children under the age of 17? Raise your hand. Guess what? You’re getting a lot of money in a monthly check now, aren’t you? No, you deserve — no, no, no, I really mean it.
Republicans used to fight for it, as well. It’s called the child tax credit. If you have a child under the age of 7, you get $300 bucks a month, $350 bucks a month. If you have a child under — between 7 and 17, you get a total of $200 bucks a month. And guess what? It’s cutting child poverty in half. In half.