Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) announced last week that he supports nixing the filibuster on voting rights legislation, marking the latest Senate Democrat to back changing the Senate’s rules, The Hill reports.
Carper, who previously withheld support for gutting the filibuster, signaled a significant shift on his stance in the face of persistent GOP obstruction, particularly with voting rights legislation.
In an op-ed published in the News Journal on Thursday, Carper highlighted the urgency of passing Democrats’ Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as state Republicans across the country slap more and more restrictions on access to the ballot.
“Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues have repeatedly used the filibuster to obstruct the path forward,” Carper wrote.
The senator said that he wants to “hold out hope” that he and his Democratic colleagues can reach a compromise with Republicans on voting rights, but ultimately “I cannot look the other way if total obstruction continues.”
“I do not come to this decision lightly, but it has become clear to me that if the filibuster is standing in the way of protecting our democracy then the filibuster isn’t working for our democracy,” the Delaware Democrat wrote.
Carper’s op-ed came out the day after GOP senators predictably wielded the filibuster to block the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which aims to restore provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were struck down by the Supreme Court, particularly the “preclearance” measure.
Republicans also used the filibuster to block the sweeping Freedom To Vote Act two weeks ago.