Aug 8, 2019

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

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

Go deeper

Mitch McConnell defends the Senate filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrats to stop considering abolishing the filibuster Thursday, arguing "America needs the Senate to be the Senate" in a New York Times op-ed.

The state of play: The Kentucky senator, responding to calls to from his predecessor Harry Reid and a number of 2020 contenders to end the filibuster to move forward Democratic proposals on gun control and climate change, said it was "their half-baked proposals and not the centuries-old wisdom that need retooling."

Go deeperArrowAug 22, 2019

2020 Dems' new climate plans need the Senate to succeed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The last 24 hours brought a burst of climate plans from 2020 Democratic White House hopefuls — along with reminders of why some of the most ambitious proposals won’t happen unless the Senate flips too.

Why it matters: They signal how the field would go far beyond the Obama era in seeking to sharply drive down U.S. emissions, restricting fossil fuels and spurring a sweeping transition to zero-carbon fuels.

Go deeperArrowSep 4, 2019

Harry Reid: Medicare for All, border decriminalization won't win 2020

Harry Reid. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In an interview with VICE News, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he thinks Medicare for All and decriminalizing border crossings are the wrong issues to focus on for Democrats to win the White House in 2020.

Why it matters: Both topics have been dividers in the crowded field seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination. While more progressive candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders have long favored Medicare for All, moderates such as former Rep. John Delaney are pushing for a universal health care system, but not Medicare for All.

Go deeperArrowAug 20, 2019