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Congresswoman Cori Bush Leads Broad Coalition of Nearly 100 House Democrats in Calling for an Immediate End to the Filibuster

April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), along with Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06), Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) and nearly 100 House Democrats sent a letter urging Senate Democrats to end the filibuster so that Congress can deliver on the promises made to the voters who gave Democrats control of the U.S. House, Senate, and Presidency.

In their letter, the Members demonstrated the need to put people over procedure in order to move forward with legislation to protect voting rights, establish a $15 minimum wage, prevent gun violence, reform our country’s immigration system, achieve climate and environmental justice, protect workers, begin to transform our criminal-legal system, and so many more urgent, life-saving policy priorities.

“This is an existential moment for our country,” the Members wrote. “We must end the gridlock that has become common practice in Washington and govern boldly and transformatively to improve the lives of millions of people, children, and families all across the country. For too many people in our communities, their very survival is at stake. Republicans are well aware of this reality. It is why they are passing legislation at the state level across the country in an attempt to suppress the votes of Black, brown and Indigenous people. It is also why they are preventing the Senate from advancing critical legislation that can meet the needs of the people we represent.”

“This is not the first time many in Congress have called for the elimination of the filibuster. Senate leaders from both sides of the aisle have tried and failed to remove the filibuster. The filibuster has been a key tool in preventing progress towards racial justice. It is a relic of Jim Crow-era policies that continue to preclude our nation’s efforts to fulfill a foundational promise laid out in the constitution to “establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” From voting rights to gun violence prevention, the filibuster continues to deny justice and racial equity to communities of color and blocks meaningful legislation from moving forward,” the Members continued.

“We urge Senate Democrats to do what it takes to pass an agenda that meets the needs of everyday people, including eliminating the filibuster. We understand the balance of power and share a desire to maintain a healthy political environment through bipartisanship. However, what has become patently clear is that we cannot let a procedural tool that can be abolished stand in the way of justice, prosperity, and equity. We simply cannot afford such a catastrophic compromise. We must legislate towards a better, more just Americaand that requires us to do what’s necessary to deliver for the communities that we all represent.”

The letter is co-signed by nearly 100 Members of the House Democratic Caucus: Jason Crow (CO-06), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Sean Casten (IL-06), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Karen Bass (CA-37), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Andrè Carson (IN-07), David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Judy Chu (CA-27), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Jim Cooper (TN-05), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Debbie Dinegll (MI-12), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), John Garamendi (CA-03), Jesús G. "Chuy" García (IL-04), Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Kaiali'i Kahele (HI-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Andy Levin (MI-09), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Marie Newman (IL-03), Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (Guam), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Ed Perlmutter (CO-07), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Katie Porter (CA-45), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Bobby Rush (IL-01), Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Terri A. Sewell (AL-07), Debbie Wasserman Shultz (FL-23), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Haley Stevens (MI-11), Mark Takano (CA-41), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Ritchie Torres (NY-15), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Peter Welch (VT), Nikema Williams (GA-05), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24).   

More than 20 grassroots organizations joined the coalition of House Democrats and endorsed the letter, calling on the Senate to end the filibuster and deliver the bold, progressive legislation the American people want and need. 

“The filibuster is a racist remnant of a Senate designed to entrench white minority rule at the expense of the multiracial majority,” said Demos Senior Policy Analyst Laura Williamson. “Black and Brown Americans in particular have born the brunt of the filibuster, historically and today. From blocking anti-lynching and anti-poll tax legislation during Jim Crow to thwarting today’s efforts at gun violence prevention, raising the minimum wage, and passing structural democracy reform, the filibuster remains a linchpin of the minority obstructionism that is blocking progress on racial justice and every other pressing issue of our time."

"Filibuster reform is critical for advancing racial justice,” said Scott Roberts, Senior Director of Democracy and Criminal Justice for Color of Change. “Throughout its history, Senators have used the filibuster to block important Civil Rights protections for Black Americans. Democratic Senators who defend the filibuster are protecting a legacy of racism, and are choosing to let an outdated rule block progress that would begin to address the challenges facing Black communities across the country.”

A PDF of the letter can be found here

Earlier today, the Members convened a press conference to discuss the urgency of their letter, the full video of the presser can be found here.

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Congresswoman Cori Bush represents Missouri’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. She is also a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a proud member of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a registered nurse, single mother, and an ordained pastor. Following the murder of Michael Brown Jr. by a now-terminated Ferguson police officer, she became a civil rights activist and community organizer fighting for justice for Black lives on the streets of Missouri and across the country.