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Barack Obama speaking at the funeral of late Rep. John Lewis on July 30. Photo: Alyssa Pointer/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama endorsed a slew of progressive policies related to voting rights during his eulogy for the late Rep. John Lewis on Thursday, including abolishing the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Revoking the Senate's long-standing 60-vote threshold used by senators to delay or block legislative action would significantly limit the minority party's power in the chamber.

The big picture ... Obama said removing the filibuster may be necessary to pass the following legislation:

  • Automatically registering Americans to vote
  • Making Election Day a federal holiday
  • Giving equal representation to citizens of Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • Ending partisan gerrymandering
  • Restoring voting rights for convicted felons
  • Expanding early voting
  • Restoring the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act

What they're saying: "If all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the god-given rights of every American, then that's what we should do," Obama said.

Between the lines: Obama's endorsement of eliminating the filibuster comes as Democrats are currently favored by the Cook Political Report to gain five to seven Senate seats, which could give them the majority needed to abolish the chamber rule.

  • Joe Biden has yet to concretely say if he would direct his Senate allies to pursue abolishing the filibuster if elected president.
  • He told the New York Times in July that it will "depend on how obstreperous they become,” referring to Republicans.

Go deeper ... Obama: "John Lewis will be a founding father" of America's better future

Go deeper

All eyes — and $$$ — on Georgia

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Brace yourself for Part II of the 2020 election — it starts today, in Georgia. Hundreds of millions of dollars are about to pour into the Peach State, now that control of the Senate — and the fate of the next president's agenda — hinges on runoffs for not one but both of the state's seats, set for Jan. 5.

Why it matters: If Joe Biden goes to the White House, the outcomes of these races will determine whether he can move aggressively to enact Democratic policy priorities and confirm his top cabinet and judicial nominees.

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

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