Harry Reid: Democrats should scrap filibuster to battle climate change if they retake Senate

Harry Reid: Democrats should scrap filibuster to battle climate change if they retake Senate

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP embraces big stimulus after years of decrying it Five Latinas who could be Biden's running mate Winners and losers from Super Tuesday MORE (D-Nev.) on Thursday called for Democrats to make tackling the climate crisis a priority, even if it means scrapping the Senate filibuster.

“The answer is yes,” Reid told The Daily Beast, when asked if he would get rid of the tactic requiring 60 votes for legislation to be brought to the floor if it allowed Democrats to pass a bill addressing the climate crisis. “[T]he No. 1 priority is climate change. There’s nothing that affects my children, grandchildren and their children, right now, more than climate."

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Reid predicted that the death of the filibuster for legislation is inevitable.

“It is not a question of if,” he told The Daily Beast. “It is a question of when we get rid of the filibuster. It’s gone. It’s gone.”

Debate over the filibuster has emerged as a divisive issue in the 2020 Democratic primary, and some leaders in the Senate are expressing an openness to scrapping the rule. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Schumer doubles down in call for Trump to name coronavirus supply czar Trump lashes out at Schumer over call for supply czar MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters last month that while his first focus is winning back the majority, "nothing is off the table," if his party does.

White House hopeful, Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeWashington state extends stay-at-home order to May 4 Governors win high marks for coronavirus response, outpacing Trump Lizzo donates lunch to hospital workers battling coronavirus MORE (D) has specifically brought up getting rid of the filibuster to ensure comprehensive climate change initiatives can pass the Senate during the presidential debates.

Inslee touted Reid’s position on the filibuster in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“Majority Leader Harry Reid is right: Reid understands that the climate crisis must be the top priority of the next President, and that we must end the filibuster to defeat this beast,” he said. "Harry Reid knows [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats press Trump, GOP for funding for mail-in ballots Top GOP lawmakers push back on need for special oversight committee for coronavirus aid Stocks move little after record-breaking unemployment claims MORE. He knows we can't sit down to tea with the self-proclaimed 'grim reaper' to pass bold climate legislation the science demands.”

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Hillicon Valley: T-Mobile, Sprint complete merger | Warren pushes food delivery apps to classify workers as full employees | Lawsuit accuses Zoom of improperly sharing user data Warren calls on food delivery apps to classify workers as full employees MORE (D-Mass.) is the only top-tier Democratic candidate who has specifically endorsed getting rid of the filibuster. 

Reid reiterated to The Daily Beast that he will not endorse a candidate until after the Nevada caucus. He has previously spoken positively of Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Schumer: Administration 'must move heaven and earth' to implement new unemployment benefits Biden associates reach out to Holder about VP search MORE (I-Vt.).

The former senator discussed other structural reforms with The Daily Beast.

On abolishing the Electoral College, which some candidates like South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHuffPost political reporter on why Bernie fell way behind Biden Economists fear slow pace of testing will prolong recession The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pence defends response, says Trump never 'belittled' virus threat MORE (D) have championed, Reid said that it "is unfair in many instances."

"I don’t know how you’re going to change it. I just don’t know how,” he said.  

He also touched on term limits for court appointments.

“Maybe I have no basis for talking about this because I’m in my seventies — in my eighties before too long. I have never favored term limits,” Reid said.

“But when the Constitution was written, no one ever expected judges to live to be 80 years old. Now they’re going into their nineties in some places around the federal court system. So I think that we have to jiggle that around a little bit. I think that’s something we need.”

Updated 2:48 p.m.