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A coordinated nationwide group of demonstrators was arrested on Monday during separate sit-ins at the home offices of lawmakers over demands that the Senate end the filibuster.
The Rev. William J. Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Barbara Arnwine of the Transformative Justice Coalition were among 39 people charged with third-degree criminal trespass outside the Phoenix office of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat. Each activist was released on-site.
Activists in about 30 states held protests at the state offices of their senators. In Maine, four protesters were charged for their sit-in at the Portland office of Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Four protesters were also arrested at the Gulfport office of Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi, and four were arrested at the Los Angeles office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat.
Should all 50 Senate Democrats decide the filibuster should be scrapped, only a simple majority, instead of 60 votes, will be required to pass any legislation in the chamber. This means a Democratic wish list could become a reality that includes the passage of sweeping election reform law the For the People Act, a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, and the expansion of seats on the Supreme Court.
As of now, only Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, have publicly declared they are against doing away with the filibuster, which both parties have used over the years when either was in the minority. This, however, has not swayed liberal activists, who argue that the filibuster is a relic of the past and must be done away with.
“Why must we end the filibuster? First of all, it’s nonconstitutional. You should not be using a nonconstitutional thing to block constitutional rights,” Barber said. “Secondly, it’s never been used to bring people together.”
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Original Author: Kerry Picket
Original Location: Jesse Jackson arrested protesting Kyrsten Sinema's filibuster support