Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday addressed the question of whether Democrats will eliminate the legislative filibuster if they take control of the Senate, telling CNN that it's "not a question of if it's going to be gone, it's only when it's going to be gone."

Why it matters: Current Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said that "nothing is off the table" if Republicans move ahead with replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election — a threat that likely includes abolishing the Senate's long-standing 60-vote threshold in order to pass sweeping legislation.

  • Multiple Democrats have already come out in favor of the move, though eliminating the rule would significantly reduce the ability of the chamber's minority party to block legislation, be that Republicans or Democrats.
  • Democrats would have to win a simple majority of 51 seats this year to change Senate rules and eliminate the filibuster, or they could claim a simple majority by gaining at least a total of 50 seats and the White House, using the vice president to break tie votes.

Worth noting: In 2013, Reid eliminated the 60-vote threshold for executive branch and federal judiciary appointments, but not Supreme Court nominations — a decision that some critics say allowed President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to confirm a record number of federal judges when they took power.

  • McConnell later extended the so-called "nuclear option" to Supreme Court nominations during Justice Neil Gorsuch's confirmation.

What they're saying: "I think this is going to be a change election," Reid said. "I believe Biden will be elected by a nice margin, Pelosi will build upon her margin that she has in the House and we're going to retake the Senate."

  • "We got a Democratic president. We got Pelosi in the House, and we've got a Democratic majority in the Senate. It's the time to do some really, stunningly important things."
  • "And one thing they're going to have take a look at — I don't want to get too far in the weeds — but when we get rid of the filibuster — the filibuster is not a question of if it's going to be gone, it's only when it's going to be gone."

The big picture: Former President Obama endorsed eliminating the filibuster in July in order to pass voting rights legislation, including ending partisan gerrymandering, making Election Day a federal holiday and automatically registering Americans to vote.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed eliminating it the same day as Obama after first rejecting the idea during the Democratic primary debates in 2o19.

It's unclear where Joe Biden stands on the filibuster. He has yet to say if he would direct his Senate allies to pursue abolishing the rule if elected president with a Democratic majority in the chamber.

  • He told the New York Times in July that it will "depend on how obstreperous they become,” referring to Republicans.

Go deeper: Democrats consider total war if McConnell jams through Supreme Court nominee

Go deeper

19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Texas Supreme Court stays order blocking limits on ballot drop-off sites

A sign is seen at drive-through mail ballot drop off site at NRG Stadium in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The Texas Supreme Court on Saturday temporarily stayed an order by the lower court that blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's limits on drop-off locations for mail-in ballots.

Why it matters: The move means voters will continue to be restricted to a single drop-off location per county for now. The state's Supreme Court gave both sides until Monday at 5 p.m. CDT to file responses as it considers whether to take up the issue. By then, there will be just over one week until the election.

18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

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