Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., a leading proponent of major changes to Senate rules to fix its filibuster "paralysis," nonetheless welcomes the smaller compromises adopted Thursday.
The senator issued the following statement after a deal was struck to modify Senate rules:
“The Senate spoke clearly today: the paralysis of the Senate is unacceptable. Senators of both parties have recognized the need for change, and supported several steps to make the Senate more functional.
“These steps are modest, and don’t address the core problem of the secret, silent filibuster, but they do include some important elements, providing flexibility on the motion to proceed and speeding up the confirmation process on nominations.
"I would like to have gone further. In particular, I believe that if 41 senators vote for more debate, then senators should have the courage of their convictions to stand on the floor and make their case in front of the American people. Then the American people could decide if obstructing Senators are heroes or bums.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take a bolder step to fix the Senate, but what is most important today is the deep determination of Senators to return the Senate to a more functional institution. If the modest steps taken today do not end the paralysis the Senate currently suffers, many Senators are determined to revisit this debate and explore stronger remedies.
“We have a responsibility to address the big issues facing our country. I’ll keep working with my colleagues to achieve that goal.”