changes to democracy

Should Democrats eliminate the Senate filibuster the next time they control the chamber?

Yes

Yes, eliminate it

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I support eliminating the Senate filibuster,” Bullock told The Post. “Washington has become a place where talking has taken the place of doing. The Senate is broken and the partisan filibuster is impeding the functioning of good government by removing incentives to cooperate.”

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Steve Bullock
Bullock

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “I was the first Democratic candidate for the 2020 nomination to call for ending the filibuster. It is an arcane Senate rule that belongs in the dustbin of history,” Inslee told The Post. “It is hard to take candidates seriously who say they want to pursue major climate change or health care legislation if they cling to senatorial privilege like the filibuster.” During the second Democratic debate, Inslee said, “We’ve got to get rid of the filibuster so we can govern the United States.”

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Jay Inslee
Inslee

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

"Sen. McConnell makes a mockery of the rules, and then whines when Democrats talk about changing them," Messam told The Post. "The current use of the filibuster isn’t what the Founders intended, as it is being misused to stop all legislative efforts. What Sen. McConnell has wrought is bad for Democracy, and I believe it should be removed."

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Wayne Messam
Messam

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. “The filibuster is also holding us back, ensuring our laws don’t change with the will of voters,” Moulton wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “Issues such as climate change won’t wait, and neither can we.”

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Seth Moulton
Moulton

Eric Swalwell (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, California

Swalwell is no longer running for president. Swalwell supports eliminating the filibuster, he told The Post.

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Eric Swalwell
Swalwell

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

"We’re done with having two sets of rules," Warren announced on April 5. "When Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell continues to put small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing our country, then we should get rid of the filibuster." Warren had previously told The Post that she was open to the change.

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Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Open to it

Open to it

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“Both of these suggestions, I'm not taking off the table,” Booker said of changes to the filibuster and court packing. In a March Pod Save America interview, Booker explained that “We are heading that way" toward eliminating the filibuster but that GOP leadership "would have hurt people in my community” if the filibuster were not in place. He was one of 61 senators to sign a letter supporting the 60-vote filibuster threshold in 2017.

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Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

"We should consider it," Buttigieg told the Intercept. "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."

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Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro is open to eliminating the filibuster, he told The Post.

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Julian Castro
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, 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," Gabbard told a reporter. "Often it is the party that is in the minority that is calling for bringing about those changes and then once they get into the majority then they say no, absolutely not, we're not going to change this."

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Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. "It’s a very important question. I want to weigh all the pros and the cons over the next few weeks," Gillibrand told Politico earlier this year. In 2017, she was one of 61 senators to sign a letter supporting the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

Jan. 22: “If you don't have 60 votes yet, it just means you haven't done enough advocacy and you need to work a lot harder.”

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Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“So, again, back to the United States Congress, here’s my point. If they fail to act, as president of the United States, I am prepared to get rid of the filibuster to pass a Green New Deal,” Harris told a CNN climate town hall. Harris previously said she was “conflicted” about the filibuster. She was one of 61 senators to sign a letter supporting the 60-vote filibuster threshold in 2017.

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Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper’s campaign said he supports “amending the Senate rules on a case-by-case basis.”

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John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar is open to eliminating the filibuster, she told The Post. She was one of 61 senators to sign a letter supporting the 60-vote filibuster threshold in 2017.

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Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

"We should seriously consider getting rid of the filibuster," O'Rourke told The Post.

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Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

"I believe in filibuster reform and making it much harder for any one senator to bring the Senate to a halt," Sanders told The Post. "I also believe, as recent history has shown, that major legislation can be passed by majority vote through the budget reconciliation process." He had previously told CBS News he was “not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster.” At the third Democratic debate, Sanders said he “will not wait for 60 votes to make that happen. And you could do it in a variety of ways.” Vox explored his position on the filibuster in April.

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Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Marianne Williamson

Author

"I believe that an individual Senator who strongly opposes a piece of legislation should be allowed to hold the floor for as long as she can stand," Williamson told The Post. "But given the unprecedented partisanship that Republicans have thrust on this country — exemplified by their refusal to even hold hearings on Merrick Garland — I do not believe that the Senate can function if legislation requires a super majority to pass. Thus, 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."

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Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

"I would be open to it," Yang told The Post. "The filibuster is not in the Constitution which requires a supermajority for only very specific things like lifetime appointments and impeachment. There is a built-in system of checks and balances already without adding the filibuster. That said it should be everyone’s preference to get a clear majority of legislators on board for major legislation."

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Andrew Yang
Yang

No

No, do not eliminate it

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet was one of 61 senators to sign a 2017 letter supporting the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

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Michael Bennet
Bennet

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

"If we want to pass long-lasting, meaningful legislation, it should be done with a 60-vote majority," Delaney told The Post.

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John Delaney
Delaney

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio does not support eliminating the filibuster, he told The Post.

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Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan does not support eliminating the filibuster, he told The Post.

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Tim Ryan
Ryan

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“No, except we might consider lowering the number to overcome a filibuster to perhaps 55; and we should reverse the "nuclear option" on judicial nominations,“ Sestak told The Post. ”Both parties need to consider whether removing the filibuster is best for when inevitably each respective party finds themselves in the minority.”

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Joe Sestak
Sestak

Unclear/No response

Unclear/No response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

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Joe Biden
Biden

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Background Senate rules effectively require 60 of 100 senators to support legislation for it to pass the chamber. This “supermajority” requirement makes it harder to pass bills through the Senate, empowering the chamber’s minority but making ambitious changes harder to enact. Senators have traditionally sought to protect the filibuster, but liberals argue that it allows relatively few states to thwart the popular will of the country and vital changes. Democrats are in the minority in the Senate, but are considering filibuster changes if they win back control.

Senate Republicans in 2017 used the "nuclear option" to require only a simple majority to approve Supreme Court nominations; Senate Democrats in 2013 did so to eliminate the 60-vote rule on federal judicial appointments and executive appointments.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic campaign asking whether it supports various changes to the Senate filibuster, U.S. elections and courts. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their position on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.

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