President Biden shot down calls to eliminate the filibuster to clear the way for passage of a broader Democrat-backed election overhaul, arguing that any attempt to end the tactic’s use despite opposition from the GOP would jeopardize their entire legislative agenda.

“There is no reason to defend it, except that you will throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will happen,” he said. “Absolutely nothing will happen. A lot is at stake. Most important is the right to vote, that is most important.”

After being pressured by an attendee and moderator Don Lemon to explain why he didn’t ask Filibuster to end, Biden offered his stance during CNN’s presidential town hall.

Demand among progressives to eliminate the filibuster has grown since June, when Senate Republicans blocked the idea of ​​a “For the People Act” after Democrats secured the 60 votes needed to remove the filibuster. had failed. Biden is a staunch supporter of the bill, arguing that it is a necessary check on election integrity bills in the GOP-led states, which the president has likened to “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”

While he isn’t ready to end the filibuster, Biden said the “abuse” of the strategy is “very heavy” in the Senate. The president reiterated his stance that lawmakers need to “hold on the floor”, or to deliver sustained remarks in the Senate chamber, to maintain a filibuster.

Biden referred to former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, who had filmed 24 hours in a once unsuccessful bid to block the passage of civil rights legislation in 1957.

Biden said, “In the middle of the civil rights movement, there were very few films in those days.”

In March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that he risked “scorched earth” Congress if Biden supported efforts to end filibuster.

“I’m trying to bring the country closer together, and I don’t want the debate to be just about whether we have a filibuster or whether there are exceptions to filibuster or going back to the way the first filibuster was. was to be used.” Biden added.