Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) on Thursday will introduce legislation that would change the way the filibuster can be used in the Senate.

Harkin stated his intention to introduce the bill last month that would give the majority party greater leeway to move past a minority filibuster. The move comes in the wake of Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) victory last month, making him the 41st GOP senator to uphold a filibuster of the healthcare reform bill.


The Iowa senator has noted that he ushered similar legislation to the Senate floor 15 years ago when the Democrats were in the minority, only to have it voted down.

"In an economic climate that has been devastating for Americans, it's time for the Senate to get moving on a jobs bill, on financial regulatory reform, and on health care," Harkin said in a statement. "The minority party has ground Senate business to a halt by abusing the rules, and it's time to reform the process."

Harkin believes that senators have begun to use the the procedural tactic improperly in recent years.

His release points out "In the 1950s, there was an average of one filibuster per Congress. Last Congress, motions were filed to end filibusters a record 139 times, and they continue at a similar pace through 2009 (67 cloture motions last year)."

Recently, some Democrats have specifically expressed outrage at Republican use of the tactic against what they say are uncontroversial legislative items. But many lawmakers have said that the filibuster is an important protection for the minority party to posses. 

Harkin's model would reduce the amount of votes it takes to break a filibuster as debate over a bill extends over time. 

Democratic leadership aides have said the bill will likely not pass because it takes 67 votes to change Senate rules.