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Udall pushes reform of Senate rules

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By Hal Rhodes

Kudos to Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) who has put his intellect and energy behind the push to reform, at long last, the archaic rules of the United States Senate.

As matters stand, a minority of U.S. senators (41 to be exact) has the ability to block a majority of their colleagues (59) from so much as debating a legislative proposal. We’re not talking here about enacting legislation. We’re talking about debating a measure — weighing the pros and cons ­— before a bill even goes to the Senate floor for a vote.

It is a rule that fosters obstructionism by an unbending Senate minority, even as it obliterates any semblance of majority rule. The filibuster, it’s called, and it has been abused by the Republican minority in this Senate more than at any time in recent history.

Just last week, efforts to debate legislative proposals to strengthen regulatory oversight of Wall Street came to naught because 41 Republicans threatened a filibuster if such a debate were attempted. Actually, they didn’t even have to filibuster — that is, talk endlessly — all they had to do was threaten a filibuster.


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