Making the U.S. Senate actually work via changing the rules, explained in 90 seconds:
Narrator: This legislative summary is brought to you by Main Street Insider. Today we examine the “constitutional option” as proposed by Senator Tom Udall which is a mechanism that opens the door to changing filibuster rules. The Senate’s reputation as the place where bills go to die is becoming increasingly appropriate since two thousand seven.
David Waldman: Major legislation used to face a filibuster about eight to ten percent of the the time as far back as the sixties. These days seventy plus percent of the bills and nominations coming to the floor face a filibuster which really means that the Senate has just become paralyzed.
Narrator: In response Senator Udall has proposed using a procedural mechanism that allows a simple majority to end a debate on rules changes at the beginning of a new Congress instead of the usual two thirds super majority.
This so-called “constitutional option”, if approved, would apply only on the first legislative day of the session and would require the President of the Senate’s approval. It does not contain any substantive changes to the rules themselves and simply provides an avenue to approve the rules with fifty-one votes.
Supporters say that filibuster reform is crucial to meeting the nation’s many pressing concerns and believe this option presents the best hope to change the rules.
Senator Tom Udall: With the hundreds of bills passed by the House the senate’s to do list keeps growing. the obstruction is irresponsible and far too easily influenced by the special interests.
Narrator: Opponents argue that the filibuster is a longstanding and important tradition that should not be jettisoned so casually.
The measure is expected to be brought up by Senator Udall in the first day of the new session, January fifth, and will require a majority vote, or fifty votes plus Vice President Biden to pass….
….And, of course, we chimed in:
@MBersin @clairecmc Then do something about changing the rules in January. #MO 44 minutes ago via web in reply to clairecmc
And Blue Girl:
@BGinKC @clairecmc And if the Ds don’t change the rules 1st thing Jan 5th, it stops being their fault and starts being yours. #thatsjustthewayitis 41 minutes ago via web in reply to clairecmc
And someone else:
@DoctorD71 @clairecmc You guys need to vote to change the Senate rules to stop the R roadblock. 39 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® in reply to clairecmc
Well, Claire, which side are you on?