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Sen. Tom Udall has had his big day in Congress – at least for now. New Mexico’s freshman Democratic senator and a number of colleagues elected in the big Democratic years of 2006 and 2008 became dissatisfied about the Senate’s slow pace a year or so ago.
Udall, his cousin Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado, and a few others with experience in the U.S. House of Representatives, were accustomed to a much quicker pace of work, with bills rammed through by strong leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich.
They convinced other newly elected Democrats that the Senate is dysfunctional and broken. So they devised a plan to shake up the Senate and convinced 26 senators, including some of the old war horses, to become cosponsors.
The centerpiece of the Udall plan was to allow controversial bills to pass the Senate by majority vote rather than requiring 60 votes to prevent a filibuster.
The group also wanted the Senate to accept the House practice of adopting new rules of procedure on the opening day of Congress every two years.
Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle were quite annoyed at these new arrivals who wanted to change the way the Senate has operated for over two centuries. The Senate is intended to deliberate legislation the House has quickly passed.
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