Dem Sen. Menendez Calls for ‘Democracy Exception’ on Filibuster

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said Wednesday on CNN’s “The Lead” that he was in favor of a “democracy exception” to the filibuster rule in order to pass the Democrats election reform bill with a simple majority in the U.S. Senate.

Anchor Jake Tapper said, “Independent Senator Angus King of Maine who caucuses with Democrats, he tells CNN that he wants to try again to reach a deal with Republicans on election reform legislation. Do you think that there is potentially common ground to be found on this, a more narrow bill? Or do you think Democrats and Republicans are just too diametrically opposed on this?”

Menendez said, “Well, look, I hope that we can reach common ground. Preserving the right to vote and the ability to cast that vote is the very essence of representative democracy. Yet, what we see across the country over 400 actions taken by Republican legislatures and introducing bills that restrict the right to vote, that makes it far more difficult to cast a vote, particularly in minority communities. That’s a telltale sign of where Republicans really are at. So it is my hope that if it wasn’t for The for People Act, that then tell us what you’re for at the end of the day to see what we can come together on common ground, at least to advance some of the democracy gains that we should be having in our society and make sure that everybody who is eligible to vote gets that right to vote and it gets to do it relatively in an easy fashion.”

He continued, “The reality is that we don’t have 60 votes in the United States Senate, and for so long as the filibuster rule continues to be the rule in the history of the Senate, then we’re going to have a challenge on some of these big things. But I will say it takes two to tango. So, if I invite you to do things, whether it’s on infrastructure or voting rights and you basically say no, then it creates the impetus for some to consider what is necessary to be done to change the rules to permit maybe at least a democracy exception. Because this is the very core of our government and how we proceed, and it affects all other things.”

Tapper asked, “So you would support getting rid of the filibuster for an election reform bill exclusively, not just in general?”

Menendez said, “In the absence of any visible demonstration by Republicans to come to the table and broaden the scope of how we make the right to vote is enhanced how do we get dark money out of our system, how do we ultimately have greater transparency in the funding of elections, I would consider that.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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