Merkley, Udall Escalate Criticism Of Scaled-Back Filibuster Reform

January 3, 2013 10:03 a.m.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Tom Udall (D-NM) held a briefing with reporters Thursday to make the case for adopting their “talking filibuster” proposal with 51 votes via the constitutional option.

Merkley said the McCain-Levin scaled-back bipartisan proposal “does nothing to take on the secret, silent filibuster that is haunting this body” and “gives substantial power to the minority with guaranteed amendments.”

Udall said the Merkley-Udall plan has “good momentum” and said he believes it has the necessary 51 votes to pass under what Republicans call the “nuclear option.” Changing the rules ordinarily requires 67 votes.

Merkley said his proposal is not about “silencing the voice of the majority.”

It was the second press briefing held by the two senators since the McCain-Levin plan was unveiled last week, scrambling the cause of filibuster reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has not yet announced which approach he intends to take.

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