Protect Democracy Condemns Use of Filibuster to Block Bipartisan Commission on January 6th Insurrection

Washington, D.C. —In reaction to the Senate’s use of the filibuster, which blocked a vote to proceed with debate on the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex Act (S.3417), Protect Democracy released the following statement:

“After what was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, the American people deserve to know where their elected officials stand on the bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection and prevent future attacks like it. And yet, despite the bill being negotiated through a bipartisan process—with significant bipartisan support in both the Congress and with the American public—the Senate invoked the filibuster to prevent a debate on it. The filibuster is weakening democracy by decreasing the Senate’s capacity to operate as a deliberative, bipartisan body, and making it less able to take action on policies that are popular with significant majorities of the American public.”

As more than 350 scholars explained last month, the filibuster is not original to the Constitution. In fact, the Framers explicitly rejected a supermajority requirement for common legislation. Today, the filibuster is preventing Congress from enacting bills with strong bipartisan backing, undermining public faith in our system of government. Over the past 30 years, nearly 80 percent of bills blocked by the filibuster were bipartisan—like this bill—with the average supported by five senators from the other party. 

This situation constitutes an urgent crisis for our democracy, and it needs to change.