Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who retired in 2017 after three decades in the U.S. Senate, told the Associated Press in an interview that if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected in November, and inherits a Democratic Senate, the president should set his sights on ending the filibuster.
“We should give the Republicans a little bit of time, to see if they’re going to work with him,” Reid told AP during a phone interview.
However, Reid appeared to suggest that the time provided to Republicans would simply be a courtesy, because the GOP might not be willing to sufficiently compromise and there would be too much for Democrats to get done. “The time’s going to come when he’s going to have to move in and get rid of the filibuster,” he said.
Reid also told AP that Biden should give Republicans “no more than three weeks” before deciding to end the filibuster.
Throughout the presidential election cycle, high-profile Democratic politicians have been pushing for an end to the Senate filibuster, with some, such as former President Barack Obama, going so far as to call it a “relic” of the Jim Crow era.
After the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) was even more blunt: “Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”
Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) September 19, 2020
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who said during a speech on Saturday she would vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, specifically spoke out against threats from Democrats to end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court.
“To do that would only inflict even deeper, deeper wounds,” said Murkowski.
ICYMI: Watch my floor speech here on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve as the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. https://t.co/JRWZlEEJCx
— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) October 24, 2020
Within the Democratic Party, there has been some open resistance to eliminating the filibuster, such as from long-time California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been fighting a public pressure campaign from the Left over her lack of conformity.
On the other hand, Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), the Democratic Party’s second highest-ranking politician in the Senate, said on a podcast back in August that he is “leaning” toward abolishing the filibuster in the Senate.
“I can tell you that’s where I’m leaning,” Durbin told the “Skullduggery” podcast, according to Yahoo News. “I will tell you, I have been frustrated for a hell of a long time because of this filibuster.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that Democrats will “do what it takes” to get things done should they take over the Senate, and “nothing is off the table.”