Harkin, for instance, is trying to revive a previously unsuccessful proposal he first offered in 1995 that would gradually reduce the threshold for cloture to a simple majority.
“I am not afraid of democracy, and my colleagues should not be afraid either,” Harkin said. “Issues of public policy should be decided at the ballot box, not by manipulation of arcane procedural rules. After ample protections for debate, deliberation and amendments, the majority in the Senate should be allowed to carry out its agenda, to govern, and to be held accountable by the voters.”
At the end of the day, however, the responsibility for action rests with Reid.
“This is going to be a judgement call on his part as to whether or not this is a substantial package, whether it’s a bipartisan package or one that he has to do individually,” Udall said. “But I think he’s going to push for what he believes is the ... strongest proposal he can get.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.