Within hours of Senate Leader Harry Reid’s death, CNN began using the news to advocate for filibuster reform.
Reid’s death was announced late Tuesday night in a statement from his wife Landra. He had previously served five terms from 1983 to 2017 and served as a majority leader from 2007 to 2015. Prior to his death, he was Nevada’s longest-serving member of Congress.
Most notably, Reid invoked the “nuclear option” in 2013 to eliminate the filibuster on executive branch nominees and judicial nominees other than to the Supreme Court. This allowed Senate members to vote on presidential nominees on a simple majority rather than the 60-vote minimum previously.
The subject of the filibuster came up CNN’s “Newsroom” as Jim Acosta discussed Reid’s death with former New York congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman.
“Congresswoman, let me ask you about something Harry Reid told me just before his passing in interviews this year. He said it’s time to get rid of the filibuster,” Acosta said. “He did issue a cautionary warning about expanding the Supreme Court, so he was an institutionalist in many ways. But as somebody who, you know, practiced the art of the filibuster and so on as a Senate leader, at the end of his life, he was warning the country that this is standing in the way of important progress.”
“Well, he was right about that,” Holtzman replied.
While she complimented Reid as a “great strategist” and “brilliant tactician,” Holtzman also implored Congress to eliminate the filibuster as it “is standing in the way” of progress.
“His warning about the Supreme Court, well, we’ll see what happens with that, but the filibuster right now is standing in the way as he said of something that is really vital, namely the right of every American to vote and have his or her vote counted. And nothing can be more basic than that,” Holtzman said. “And if some rule in the Senate stands in the way of getting that, making sure that every American has the right to vote and that vote counted, then we got to change that rule.”
Reid was 82 at the time of his passing. He is survived by his wife, Landra Gould, and five children.