Udall, Merkley and Harkin want to force senators who filibuster to actually speak on the floor. They argue it would greatly increase public accountability and require the minority to use time and energy to stall business.
“The filibuster, once used only on issues of personal principle, is now used regularly as an instrument of partisan politics,” Merkley said. “It hurts our ability to take on the big challenges we face as Americans. And we need to fix it. We must put an end to the secret, silent filibuster that is haunting the Senate.”
In a briefing with reporters Thursday, Merkley and Udall said that they believe they have the 51 votes for Harry Reid, should he decide to push the reforms with a simple majority vote. In terms of momentum for these reforms, that's critical as Reid talks to Mitch McConnell and other Democrats who are working on the weak McCain-Levin proposal.