Heinrich had previously supported the efforts to amend the Senate filibuster rules by using the “constitutional option” but had not taken a stance on Udall’s specific reforms until now.
“The abuse of the filibuster over the last decade has prevented vital legislation like the DREAM Act and the American Jobs Act from even being considered on the Senate floor,” Heinrich said in a statement. “This fair and simple proposal clears a path to debate and requires senators who wish to filibuster to actually speak on the floor. I am proud to join Senator Udall in helping to alleviate dysfunction and increase accountability in the Senate, and look forward to really making a difference in the lives of the people of New Mexico.”
One of the main portions of the proposal would require a “talking filibuster” — or the type of filibuster that people are familiar with from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington where the Senators blocking legislation must be actually speaking on the floor to delay legislation.
As New Mexico Telegram previously reported:
Other components include eliminating the ability to filibuster motions to proceed, reducing post-cloture time on nominations to 2 hours except of Supreme Court justices and eliminating the ability to filibuster on motions to establish a conference committee.
It is unclear if there will be the 51 votes necessary to make the changes — but we will know next week when the Senators return to Washington. At that time, the Senate will vote on the new Senate rules. This is the time when there could possibly be any filibuster changes.
“The purpose of the filibuster is to protect the rights of the minority,” Heinrich’s statement continued. “It should never not be used in the cavalier manner we have seen all too frequently in recent years, and it should never be anonymous. If you are going to filibuster, you should hold the floor and explain your obstructionism to the American people.”