On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition.Momentum is growing across the Democratic caucus for immediate filibuster reform. Mainly because a few of the old bulls who opposed reform last time are now leaving. Sen. Tom Udall, a reform leader along with Sen. Jeff Merkley, says we are still short of the 51 votes we need to change the rules, but he is confident we will get there:
I'm joining Senator Jeff Merkley and six other newly elected senators to pledge to lead this reform on Day One, and I hope you'll be right there with us. Our campaign didn't end on Election Day -- and I'm counting on you to keep on working each and every day to bring real change for working families. This is the first step.
“I haven’t counted 51 just yet, but we’re working,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a leading proponent of the so-called constitutional or “nuclear” option, in which Senate rules could be changed by a majority vote.Last go round, we lost Webb, Pryor, Kohl, Baucus, and Reed. Since that time, Webb and Kohl have been replaced with yes votes. Feinstein, Kerry and Inouye didn't vote. Feinstein has previously expressed skepticism on reform. She needs to be pressured from her California constiutents. You Californians can play a role in that by contacting her office and demanding support for filibuster reform. Flipping her vote could be the key to getting the 51 votes Udall is whipping.
“We’re building the momentum right now,” Udall said. “It’s hard to say at this point, but I think it’s looking very good. The last two years have really helped coalesce people’s minds around the idea that we need to change the way we do business.”