Warren pledges to lead filibuster reform

"On the first day of the new session in January, the senators will have a unique opportunity to change the filibuster rule with a majority vote, rather than the normal two-thirds vote. The change can be modest: If someone objects to a bill or a nomination in the United States Senate, they should have to stand on the floor of the chamber and defend their opposition," she writes in a blog post published on the Huffington Post.

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Warren charges in her post that Republicans have used the modern-day filibuster — which is less the traditional practice, in which a lawmaker would talk for hours to stall a bill, and more a simple procedural vote — "380 times since the Democrats took over the majority in 2006."

But Democrats, too, used the filibuster when they were in the minority, filing 68 such motions in the 2005-2006 session, when the GOP controlled the Senate.

The potential that a party will slip back into the minority is what generally has kept the majority party from limiting the filibuster.

But Warren argues in her piece, and Democrats have argued in recent days, that to prevent the gridlock they say has been caused by Republican obstructionism, they'll need to reform the filibuster.

"I learned something important in my race against Senator Brown: Voters want political leaders who are willing to break the partisan gridlock. They want fewer closed-door roadblocks and more public votes on legislation that could improve their lives," Warren writes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters this past week that he may pursue filibuster reform when the new senate convenes in January.

"I think that the rules have been abused and that we’re going to work to change them," he said. "We’re not going to do away with the filibuster, but we’re going to make the Senate a more meaningful place, we’re going to make it so that we can get things done."

A vote to change the filibuster would find little GOP support, and Democrats are likely to use the so-called constitutional or “nuclear” option to pursue reform, in which Senate rules could be changed by a majority vote.

However, as of early this week, Democrats did not yet have the 51 votes needed to pass the reform.

Warren said in her piece that she's joining Sen. Jeff Merkley and "six other newly elected senators" -- meaning all Democratic Senators-elect, who have publicly expressed support for reform -- to lead the effort on "Day One."

Angus King, the Independent Senator-elect who announced this week he will be caucusing with Democrats, also said this week he's interested in reforming the filibuster.

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