Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) joined in the fray of Democrat Senators attempting to drastically alter 35-year old rules as a form of election nullification.
Udall introduced a proposal which lowers the bar for stopping a filibuster by only counting Senators who are present on the floor. The filibuster is a tool for the minority to slow down legislation from a vote until it has some bipartisan support.
“If 100 senators are present, 60 votes are required. If 90 senators are present, 54 votes are required, and so on,” wrote Udall in an email to supporters.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-N.V.) is campaigning to change Senate rules in order to gain more power when his majority shrinks from 59 to 53 on Wednesday.
Reid and his cohort, Rules Committee Chair Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y), want to change those rules of the Senate which give a voice to the minority party. They propose three rules changes drafted by the Colorado Senator’s cousin, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).
The three changes would include changing the rules of the Senate every two years; eliminating the filibuster to pass bills with 51 votes; and eliminating the power of one Senator to affect a vote by putting a “hold” on it. Reid plans to bring these new rules up for a vote on Wednesday.
In today’s email, Sen. Udall of Colorado asked for support for his bill to weaken the filibuster by signing a petition. The text of the email is below:
I’ve been in the Senate for two years, and while I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, I’ve developed a keen frustration with one thing in particular: the filibuster.
Don’t get me wrong: I have a deep respect for the Senate, and I also realize that the winds of political fortune change. But the simple fact is that, in recent years, the filibuster has been used to bring the people’s business to a halt in order to score political points — and I can’t stand by and let that happen.
That’s why I’ve introduced a proposal that will change how the filibuster works, forcing any senators who want to hold up the business of the Senate to show up and own their obstruction — instead of making empty threats while keeping our country from moving forward.
This week, the Senate is poised to change its governing rules, and it’s our best chance to fix the filibuster.
We must protect the rights of the minority, but our current system goes too far. I have seen bills that would create jobs and bills that fund supplies for our troops held up for days and weeks while I’ve worked day and night to help collect the 60 votes needed for cloture.
Meanwhile, the current rules allow the filibustering minority to not even bother to show up. They could be out for a haircut, dinner, or even out of town.
There’s a word for that: wrong.
My proposal changes that and forces the minority to show up and own their filibuster by changing the vote requirement for cloture to three-fifths of senators present and voting. If 100 senators are present, 60 votes are required. If 90 senators are present, 54 votes are required, and so on.
My proposal is a commonsense way to protect the minority’s rights while allowing us to get on with our job to make America work for the constituents who sent us to Washington. It’s a job I take seriously, and it’s a job I can do better with this rule change in place.
Thank you for continuing to stand with me as we move into what is sure to be a more difficult Congress. I will need you now more than ever, but if we can get this change done, it will be one huge step toward getting work done for the American people.
Happy New Year,
P.S. After you’ve signed my petition, please forward this message to five friends. We have as few as 47 hours before the Senate adopts the rules that will govern how it operates for the next two years.