Aug 8, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Harry Reid: Democrats should end the filibuster to take on climate change

Harry Reid talking at a podium.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told The Daily Beast that Democrats should kill the filibuster to pass climate change legislation if they take control of the Senate in 2020.

"[T]he No. 1 priority is climate change. There’s nothing that affects my children, grandchildren, and their children, right now, more than climate."

The state of play: Multiple 2020 Democrats have already come out in favor of abolishing the filibuster in order to pass legislation. Elizabeth Warren and Jay Inslee have both backed the idea — with Inslee explicitly tying it to climate change.

  • This week, Beto O'Rourke said he would abolish it to pass gun control.

Catch up quick: Reid has previously said that he expects the filibuster to disappear, but has not explicitly called upon Democrats to be the ones to make the change. He told Politico in 2016 that rules are "going to erode, it’s just a question of when."

  • He reiterated that sentiment in his interview with The Daily Beast: "It is a question of when we get rid of the filibuster. It’s gone. It’s gone."

Of note: In 2013, Reid eliminated the use of the filibuster for most federal judicial nominees — except for the Supreme Court.

  • Once President Trump took office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nuked the filibuster for Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments in a Republican-controlled chamber.
  • That's allowed Republicans to install two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. In addition, per NPR, Trump has appointed a quarter of federal appeals judges and 1 in 7 federal district court judges — all pushed through the Senate by McConnell without a filibuster.

Go deeper: Where 2020 Democrats stand on ending the Senate filibuster

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