Former counsel to Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd says filibuster can advance civil rights and voting rights


SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — The nation’s eyes are on Washington as Congress debates the Voting Rights Act. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is the center of attention for bucking the Democratic Party on the filibuster, the parliamentary tactic to cut off debate.

George Carenbauer was counsel to the late West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd when Byrd was majority leader. Carenbauer was on the campus Shepherd University Tuesday — where the Robert Byrd Center is based — and says Manchin is straying from Byrd’s intent for the filibuster to be a force for advancing important legislation.

“The filibuster the way that it’s constructed now. so that nobody has to debate at all. is exactly the opposite of what Senator Byrd wanted,” said Carenbauer. “He said that the purpose of the filibuster is to have complete debate. As much as the minority wanted. We don’t have that going on right now.”

Carenbauer says the late Senator Byrd was a champion of voting rights, praised by the late Congressman John Lewis.

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