(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Thursday backed a move by Senate Democrats to change filibuster rules, saying the partisan obstruction in Congress “just isn’t normal.”
“Over the past five years, we've seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress that's prevented too much of the American people's business from getting done,” the president told reporters at the White House. “A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the result of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can't let it become normal.”
Speaking in the briefing room shortly after the Senate invoked the “nuclear option” and voted to eliminate the use of the filibuster to block presidential appointments, the president spoke out against Senate Republicans for blocking his judicial nominees for purely partisan reasons and for preventing up-or-down votes on legislation related to gun control, job creation, immigration and equal pay for women.
“The vote today I think is an indication that a majority of senators believe, as I believe, that enough is enough,” he said. “The American people's business is far too important to keep falling prey day after day to Washington politics.”
The president’s support for the rule change comes eight years after then-Senator Obama opposed such a measure, warning in 2005 that “the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse” if the rules were changed.
“I'm a former senator. So is my vice president. We both value any Senate's duty to advise and consent. It's important and we take that very seriously,” the president said. “But a few now refuse to treat that duty of advise and consent with the respect that it deserves. It's no longer used in a responsible way to govern. It's rather used as a reckless and relentless tool to grind all business to a halt.”
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