Joe Biden is remaining quiet about comments one of his top congressional allies made, suggesting Senate Democrats would be open to abolishing the filibuster were the former vice president to win in November.
On Tuesday, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) told Politico he would be open to scrapping the filibuster if Biden were to win and the tactic would be used to imperil his administration’s political agenda.
“I will not stand idly by for four years and watch the Biden administration’s initiatives blocked at every turn,” Coons told the outlet.
Coons added that he was “gonna try really hard to find a path forward that doesn’t require removing what’s left of the structural guardrails, but if there’s a Biden administration, it will be inheriting a mess, at home and abroad. It requires urgent and effective action.”
The admission by the Delaware lawmaker, long an ally of the former vice president, caught the attention of many on Tuesday, with reporters and political operatives alike wondering if Coons was floating an idea that was now favored by Biden, himself.
Such speculation, in part, arose because of the relationship between Coons and Biden. The two men, who have known each other since the late-1980s, have long been close. In 2009, when Biden’s own late-son, Beau, opted to skip on running for the Senate he vacated to become vice president, Coons stepped into the fold. With Biden’s political support, Coons easily won the special election. Since then, Coons has become one of the former vice president’s top surrogates on Capitol Hill. Some even believe that were Biden to win the general election, Coons would have the inside track to be secretary of state.
Apart from those political ties, Coons’ newfound position also raised questions if it was linked to Biden because, as recently as February of last year, the senator had opposed scrapping the filibuster. At the time, Coons was identified as a top obstacle facing a push by fellow Democrats to abolish the rule and pass progressive measures, such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Biden, for his part, has not addressed Coons’ comments since they came to light. In February of this year, the former vice president told Vox that he did “not support ending the filibuster” if Democrats won control of the Senate in November.
It is unclear, though, if that position has changed. The former vice president’s campaign did not respond when asked about Coons’ comments or if the candidate still opposed scrapping the filibuster.