That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish!
The resolution to improve the debate and consideration of legislative matters and nominations in the Senate, was introduced by Democrats Tom Udall of New Mexico, with 24 Democratic cosponsors, including Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Harkin of Iowa. Since his arrival in the Senate, Udall has led a group of Democrats who are largely new to the chamber that would like to assert a “Constitutional option” to change Senate rules on the first legislative day through a simple majority vote. Detractors call this a “nuclear” option.
Senate Republicans, oppose the move and charged that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is mounting an unprecedented "power grab" that will essentially eliminate use of the filibuster in many cases like fighting liberal Supreme Court nominations.
"It would forever change the nature of the Senate and constitute a naked partisan power grab. Such a move would disrespect our bipartisan system and the will of the American people," says a memo from the Senate Republican Policy Committee, headed by potential presidential candidate Sen. John Thune.
Backers of Udall’s position argue that each new Senate cannot be bound by the decisions of prior Senates. Opponents of that argument say that because only one-third of the Senate is elected every two years, the chamber’s rules carry over from one Congress to the next. A December 2010 Congressional Research Service report seemed to back this view, stating as fact that “the Senate is a continuing body.”
S Res 10 would make a series of changes to Rule 22 of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which governs limitations on debate and the cloture process.
S Res 10 would be the first significant overhaul of the process of ending filibusters in the Senate since 1975. It also would alter the method by which senators object to legislation and nominations ordinarily considered by unanimous consent in the chamber.
The proposal would:
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