Dr. Bernice King broke with a majority of Democrats Wednesday on the debate surrounding whether or not to scrap the long-standing Senate filibuster rule.
The daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a sharp critic of the filibuster, that it was possible for the rule to “be used appropriately,” and that she understood “not getting rid of it.”
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“You know, I have agonized about this over and over and over again because I know it’s a difficult place,” King said after Reid played a 1963 video clip of her father criticizing senators employing the filibuster “to keep the majority of people from even voting.”
“In some regards the filibuster can be used appropriately, but in other regards, such as now, it’s used inappropriately. So I understand the difficulty in coming to a decision to kind of do that nuclear option and get rid of it,” she added. “But we’re dealing with something so dire that, to me, can really break our democracy.”
King went on to suggest that a “chance” may need to be taken when it comes to the filibuster, but it was unclear if she meant maintaining the rule, or doing it away with it, as liberal Democrats have called for to advance their legislative agenda.
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Despite her staunch opposition to the filibuster, Reid seemingly expressed agreement with King, repeatedly saying, “Yes,” “Yeah,” “That’s right,” and “Amen,” as she spoke.
“And, you know, when you get to that place, you may have to take that chance … and trust that the universe will be on the side of justice and come around going forward and protect us,” King said. “But I’m telling you, I have agonized because I understand not getting rid of it.”
“Absolutely,” Reid said once King finished.
The debate over the filibuster has largely been decided, with Democrats failing to reach a majority on scrapping the rule. In June, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., reiterated their opposition to ending it, angering fellow Democrats and left-wing media figures for siding with Senate Republicans.
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Senate Democrats employed the filibuster hundreds of times while President Donald Trump was in office,