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Democratic Senate Candidate Suggests ‘Pausing’ Filibuster for Abortion and Voting Rights

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Credits: Tampa Bay Times)

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a leading Democratic candidate challenging Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, has expressed her support for setting aside the Senate filibuster to advance key policy measures, including federal protections for abortion.

She emphasized the importance of democracy and majority rule, stating that for certain critical issues like abortion rights, she would be in favor of pausing the filibuster to ensure a woman’s right to choose.

In addition to abortion protections, Mucarsel-Powell indicated her willingness to bypass the filibuster for federal voting rights protections and gun control measures. However, she hesitated to fully endorse the permanent removal of the filibuster, acknowledging the need to consider its implications further before making a decision.

Democrat ex-U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Credits: The Hill)

Her stance underscores broader Democratic efforts to prioritize abortion rights in their 2024 campaigns, particularly in light of state-level ballot measures related to abortion rights, including in Florida.

Despite recent Democratic setbacks in Florida, polls have shown widespread support for abortion rights in the state, even amongst the enactment of stricter abortion limits by state Republicans.

However, Democratic attempts to eliminate the filibuster have faced challenges, with key senators like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema opposing such efforts. With both senators not seeking re-election, there may be a shift in the Senate’s dynamics, potentially opening the door for future changes to filibuster rules.

Sen. Rick Scott (Credits: CNN)

Mucarsel-Powell’s focus on abortion rights has intensified following recent developments in Florida, such as the state Supreme Court’s decision to allow a referendum on Roe v. Wade-era protections.

She sees this as an opportunity for voters to prevent politicians like Rick Scott, who supports extreme abortion bans, from being re-elected and influencing federal policies.

Scott’s stance on abortion has been somewhat ambiguous, with statements indicating both support for 15-week restrictions and approval of the state’s new six-week ban. Mucarsel-Powell aims to highlight these positions to underscore the stakes of the upcoming election and the importance of protecting abortion rights at both the state and federal levels.

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