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Biden says he supports change in Senate filibuster rules for abortion rights

President Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Susan Walsh
President Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, Thursday, June 30, 2022.

President Biden said he would support changing the filibuster rules in the Senate to ensure that privacy rights, including abortion rights, are enshrined into law in the wake of the historic Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade.

"I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law and the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that," Biden said at a press conference as he wrapped up his overseas trip following G7 and NATO summits Thursday.

"And if the filibuster gets in the way, it's like voting rights, it should be — we provide an exception for this, should require an exception to the filibuster for this action, to deal with the Supreme Court decision," he said.

Biden said he would meet with a group of governors on Friday on the issue and would make further announcements following the meeting.

He doubled down on the administration's messagingthat people who are outraged by the Supreme Court decision should mobilize for the November midterm elections.

"Show up and vote, show up in the off-year and vote, vote, vote," he said.

Asked whether he is the "best messenger" to carry the abortion rights message forward, Biden chuckled and said, "Yeah, I am. I'm the president of the United States of America. That makes me the best messenger."

Asked about recent polling that shows 85% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, Biden said world leaders disagree.

"They do not think that," he said, taking a hand-held mic to stroll the stage as he fielded questions.

On strengthening NATO

Biden spoke about the importance of rallying the NATO alliance with the threats posed by Russia and China. NATO has formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance, something Biden said was a ripple effect of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"I told Putin that if he invaded Ukraine, NATO would not only get stronger, it would get more united," he said. "That's exactly what we're seeing today."

Biden reiterated the U.S. commitment to an expanded presence in Europe because of the Russian invasion, saying, "We've reaffirmed that our Article V is sacred and we will defend every inch of NATO territory."

Biden said a majority of NATO members are on track to meet their commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defense for the first time.

And he said the U.S. will announce $800 million more in security assistance for Ukraine in the coming days. He pledged to support Ukraine "as long as it takes" and said Russia has already lost its position in international standing as the world watches its invasion.

Preview of trip to Saudi Arabia

Biden previewed his trip next month to Saudi Arabia, noting that the purpose is not to ask the King and Crown Prince to pump more oil – nor is it explicitly to have a bilateral meeting with the pair.

"It's in Saudi Arabia, but it's not about Saudi Arabia," he said.

"I guess I will see the king and the crown prince, but that's not the meeting I'm going to. They'll be part of a much larger meeting," he said.

On Turkey's request for F-16s, Biden said he'd said in December that it was in the U.S. interest to sell Turkey the fighter jets.

"I've not changed my position at all since December. There was no quid pro quo" for Turkey's decision to lift its objection to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, he added.

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Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.