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Biden backs exception to Senate filibuster rule to get abortion rights codified

Written by on July 1, 2022

Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Thursday blasted the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and said he would support carving out an exception to the Senate filibuster rule to codify abortion rights and other privacy rights as well.

“One thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior of the Supreme Court of the United States and overruling not only Roe v. Wade, but essentially challenging the right to privacy,” he said at a news conference in Madrid at the end of a NATO summit.

“We have to codify Roe v. Wade in the law,” he said. “And the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that. And if the filibuster gets in the way it’s like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this, except the required exception to the filibuster for this action to deal with the Supreme Court decision.”

Biden has previously said he would back a carveout for voting rights legislation, but Democrats lack the votes to support altering the rule, facing opposition from Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Still, some progressives applauded his position Thursday, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeting in response, “Now we’re talking!”

“Time for people to see a real, forceful push for it. Use the bully pulpit. We need more,” she wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez and other Democrats have called on the Biden administration to take stronger action to protect abortion access, such as declaring a public health emergency, authorizing procedures on federal lands, or enacting concrete ways to protect patients’ personal health and location data — actions the administration has, so far, declined to do.

Noting his evolution on the topic of abortion, one reporter asked Biden if he’s the “best messenger” to lead the fight to codify Roe.

“Yeah, I am,” he replied. “I’m the president of the United States of America. That makes me the best messenger.”

On other domestic issues, he said NATO and G-7 leaders “do not think that” the United States is going in the wrong direction — with reporters raising the Supreme Court abortion decision, continued mass shootings, including a massacre of children in Uvalde, and record-high inflation.

Addressing inflation and soaring prices across the board for goods at home, Biden said, “I can understand why the American people are frustrated because of inflation,” but argued it’s a world problem and not isolated to the U.S.

“The reason why gas prices are up is because of Russia, Russia, Russia,” he said.

Biden spoke to close out his European trip made to meet with NATO and G-7 leaders to amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In opening remarks, Biden delivered a message of NATO unity and strength in the face of new challenges, touting, above all, the addition of Finland and Sweden into the alliance.

“Putin thought you can break the Transatlantic Alliance. He tried to weaken us and expected our resolve to fracture. But he’s getting exactly what he did not want,” Biden said. “He wanted the federalization of NATO he got the NATO-ization of Finland.”

“With the addition of Finland and Sweden will be stronger than ever,” he added.

Saying that the U.S. will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” Biden also said the U.S. will soon announce $800 million in new military aid to Ukraine including air defense systems and offensive weapons.

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