Feinstein Doubles Down On Saying Democracy Isn’t In Jeopardy Ahead Of Election Bill Vote


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), on the eve of the Senate vote on Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill, reiterated her reasoning for opposing the elimination of the filibuster even as progressives grow increasingly frustrated at her reticence and Republicans prepare to use the rule to block the bill.

Key Facts

“I don’t think it, no” Feinstein said of comments by fellow Democrats who have suggested democracy is in jeopardy, adding, “to a great extent it could be, but it isn’t now.”

Feinstein told Forbes earlier this month “if democracy were in jeopardy I would want to protect it” but “I don’t see it being in jeopardy right now,” after Sens. Angus King (I-Me.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) said they would choose democracy over the filibuster – signaling they would eliminate it to pass a voting rights bill.

Yet Feinstein said in a statement earlier on Monday GOP voting restrictions “undermine our democracy,” accusing Republicans of using “unfounded conspiracy theories” to weaken the right to vote, which she called “a bedrock principle of our democracy.”

Asked if the filibuster should be on the table if Republicans block Democrats’ election reform bill, S.1 – which they are all-but-certain to do – Feinstein said “ask me tomorrow.”

Chief Critic

A coalition of 101 progressive groups in California sent a letter to Feinstein earlier on Monday urging her to “publicly acknowledge that our democracy is in danger.” The letter cites, among other examples, the introduction of hundreds of voting restriction bills in state legislatures, Republicans’ use of the filibuster to block an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack and the widespread belief among Republican voters the 2020 election was stolen.

Crucial Quote

“If the vote is unsuccessful, we suspect that will change the conversation on the Hill,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the filibuster during a press briefing on Monday, adding that she suspects more than “one or two” Senate Democrats oppose filibuster reform.

Big Number

60. That’s the number of votes needed for bills to overcome the filibuster, meaning even if all 50 Democrats vote for S.1, it would need 10 Republican votes to pass it. In addition to all 50 Republicans opposing the bill, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has not yet said if he will vote for it as he attempts to hammer out a compromise with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

What To Watch For

S.1 is set to be voted on by senators Tuesday, but it remains unclear how Democrats will move forward on voting rights going forward. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told Forbes she would support some individual components of the bill if it was broken up – though, asked about which ones specifically, she replied, “You’re just gonna have to wait and see.”

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