The second ranking Democrat in the United States Senate is trying to fire up efforts to reform the filibuster rules that so often grind activity in his chamber to a halt.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has launched an online petition titled "Fed Up With The Filibuster" in which he urges readers to show their support for a legislative remedy to the 60-vote requirement.
"The American people are sick of process blocking progress," Durbin writes on the page. "They're fed up with an arbitrary tradition that allows a minority of Senators to prevent popular, much-needed legislation from even coming to a vote."
"Frankly, so am I."
Durbin goes on to back a proposal being put forth by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), which would allow the minority party to filibuster legislation but gradually reduce the threshold for cloture until it was a simple majority vote. Other suggestions put forth by Senate Democrats involve permanently lowering the threshold to 55 votes -- or simply re-writing the chamber's rules at the beginning of the next Congress.
Durbin's move comes in contrast to Majority Leader Harry Reid's dismissal of precisely such a an effort. Meanwhile, the Obama White House, with which the Illinois Democrat is closely allied, has refused for weeks to answer simple questions about whether or not they are talking with senators about these efforts.
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