November 21, 2013

Udall Hails Rules Changes to Make Senate Work for American People

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement after the Senate voted 52-48 to change its rules and end filibusters on presidential executive and judicial nominations, except to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Udall has led the effort to reform the Senate's rules since he was elected in 2009. His argument throughout has been that a permanent change in the Senate rules - including by requiring a talking filibuster - is the only way to ensure the Senate will work for the American people again. He said the Senate's action today is a strong step forward.

"Today's vote to change the rules is a victory for all Americans who want to end obstruction and return to a government that works for them. Americans sent us here to get things done, but in recent years, the minority has filibustered again and again - not to slow action out of substantive concerns, but for political gain. Any President-Democrat or Republican-should be able to make their necessary appointments.

"This change finally returns the Senate to the majority rule standard that is required by the Constitution when it comes to executive branch and judicial nominees. With this change, if those nominees are qualified, they get an up or down vote in the Senate. If a majority is opposed, they can reject a nominee. But a minority shouldn't be able to delay them indefinitely. That is how our democracy is intended to work.

"New Mexicans - all Americans - are tired of the gridlock in Washington. The recent filibuster of three D.C. Circuit nominees over the last four weeks wasn't the beginning of this obstruction. It was the final straw in a long history of blocking the president's nominees. Doing nothing was no longer an option. It was time to rein in the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster, and I'm relieved the Senate took action today."