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Where 2020 Democrats stand on ending the Senate filibuster

This image is a four-way split screen of Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee, and Bernie Sanders.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photos: Getty Images

2020 Democrats are divided over whether to abolish the Senate filibuster, with some candidates opting to merely reform the rule and others pushing to eliminate it altogether.

Why it matters: Killing the filibuster is likely the only way Democrats could advance major progressive policies 2020 candidates are promising — like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All — even if they secured unified control of Washington, because such legislation often gets filibustered in the Senate so long as Republicans maintain a supermajority.

Want Senate to eliminate the filibuster

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.): "For generations, the filibuster was used as a tool to block progress on racial justice. And in recent years, it’s been used by the far right as a tool to block progress on everything. ... we should get rid of the filibuster.”

Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.): “I support eliminating the Senate filibuster."

Mayor Wayne Messam (D-Fla.): "The current use of the filibuster isn’t what the Founders intended... and I believe it should be removed."

Want Senate to keep the filibuster

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.): “We should not be doing anything to mess with the strength of the filibuster." Also, he said he would "personally resist” efforts to get rid of it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT.): “I'm not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster."

Former Vice President Joe Biden: "Ending the filibuster is a very dangerous move."

Admiral Joe Sestak: "No, except we might consider lowering the number to overcome a filibuster to perhaps 55..."

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.): "If we want to pass long-lasting, meaningful legislation, it should be done with a 60-vote majority..."

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio): Does not support removing the filibuster, per the Washington Post.

Mixed messages

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): "I’m conflicted, to be honest with you."

Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "We should consider it. I mean, that’s something the senators have to figure out but it’s got to be on the table because our sense of fair play among Democrats has bitten us far too many times for us to be naive about it."

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii): "That's another one that is important for us to look at how we solve this or make changes that are not based on partisanship..."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Open to eliminating the filibuster, per the Post.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas): "We should seriously consider getting rid of the filibuster."

Author Marianne Williamson: "I believe that individual filibusters should continue to be an option, but that they be followed by a simple up or down, majority-wins vote."

Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang: Told the Post he "would be open to it."

The bottom line: Any change to the Senate filibuster would have to be implemented by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has opposed the move so far, per Politico. Regardless, the issue is still encouraging campaign talk on hot-button policies that haven't been seen before.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the 2020 presidential candidates