White House: Senate should not target filibuster to pass H.R.1

McConnell threatens to turn the Senate into a 'hundred-car pile-up' if Democrats nuke filibuster

McConnell threatens to turn the Senate into a 'hundred-car pile-up' if Democrats nuke filibuster

The comments, made in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, could galvanize reform advocates who argue that the legislative filibuster is stymying Biden's agenda in the narrowly divided Senate.

Here's a look at how the filibuster works in the Senate.

The Senate has a longstanding practice of allowing any one senator to object to the proceedings, what's generally referred to as a filibuster that can halt action or votes. Strom Thurmond did to stall the 1957 Civil Rights Act.

But getting two-thirds of the Senate was hard, so filibusters continued.

In 1975, the Senate reduced the requirement for limiting debate to three-fifths of the Senate - now 60 senators.

Once debate is brought to a close, senators can move forward with consideration of the measure at hand, amendments or even final votes.

Many Democrats, anxious that the filibuster could hold up major agenda items such as voting rights and immigration reform, have pressured Democrats to use their majority to eliminate the filibuster or alter the rules. One Republican was absent that day, which helped the Democrats, but they also have the fallback of a tie-breaking 51st vote by Vice President Kamala Harris, who presides over the upper chamber.

In 2013, Democrats removed the 60-vote threshold for voting on most nominees for administration jobs, apart from the Supreme Court, allowing them to advance on a simple majority vote.

"Filibusters and the prospect of filibusters shape much of the way in which the Senate does its work", the CRS report said.

The Senate is now divided 50-50, but Democrats rule because they have the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

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But senators have changed the filibuster rules before. Neither do Democratic moderate Sens.

Sawyer Hackett, a senior adviser to Julián Castro, tweeted that McConnell's speech is "zero cause for flinching".

While several Democrats and advocacy groups call for ridding the Senate of the filibuster on legislation, there does not appear to be enough support from Democratic senators at this time to do so.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Wednesday that Democrats were not given a "mandate" by the American people to eliminate the filibuster in order to completely "transform" this country.

Far from being a reason for Democratic leaders to shy away from mounting support within their caucus for filibuster reform or abolition, progressives said McConnell's threat-laced speech shows that the party is moving in the right direction and should step on the gas. But it still poses risks, and Democratic leaders have been reluctant to move toward that option.

House Democrats are expected to vote on two separate bills on immigration Thursday, marking the first time Congress will vote on a pathway for citizenship for undocumented immigrants since Democrats won slim majorities in both chambers of Congress with President Joe Biden in the White House.

To "filibuster" means to delay action on a bill or other issue by talking.

McConnell has warned of a "scorched earth" reaction if Democrats eliminate the filibuster.

Senate Democrats were able to use the process of reconciliation, where legislation only needs majority-support, to pass the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill last week.

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