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Because the Climate Crisis Is the 'Number One Priority,' Says Harry Reid, Senate Democrats Must Kill Filibuster

"There's nothing that affects my children, grandchildren, and their children, right now, more than climate."

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called this week for Democrats to end the filibuster if they retake the Senate.

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called this week for Democrats to end the filibuster if they retake the Senate. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr/cc)

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a message for his party: if you retake the upper chamber, kill the filibuster to tackle the climate crisis.

Reid, who represented Nevada in the Senate from 1987 to 2017, made the comments to The Daily Beast reporter Sam Stein in an interview published Thursday. 

"[T]he number one priority is climate change," said Reid. "There's nothing that affects my children, grandchildren, and their children, right now, more than climate."

But Reid's prescription relies on a number of things going right for Democrats, wrote Stein:

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Reid's admonition represents the most notable case of a party elder arguing that global warming needs to be the Democrats' number one agenda item. But it is also premised on three decidedly significant—and to varying degrees, unlikely—developments: that Democrats retake the White House, that they retake the Senate, and that 50 of those Senators decide they are comfortable changing the rules of their chamber to get rid of the filibuster. 

As Common Dreams reported in 2013, Reid was criticized by progressives during his leadership for not doing enough to kill the restrictive parliamentary maneuver.

Bottom line, ending the filibuster on legislation is inevitable, Reid said.

"It is not a question of if," Reid told Stein. "It is a question of when we get rid of the filibuster. It's gone. It's gone."

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