(NEW YORK) -- Their majority dwindling, some Senate Democrats are planning a showdown on the first day of the new Congress over limiting Republicans' ability to hold up legislation through filibusters.
"We don't want to give the minority the ability to block the majority from governing," Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, a leading proponent of filibuster reform, told ABC News.
According to Udall, momentum is building behind his effort to amend Senate Rule XXII, which allows 3/5ths of the Senate -- or 60 members -- to invoke "cloture" and end debate. Failure to clear that 60-vote hurdle leaves a bill on the table, effectively killing it, and is commonly referred to as a modern "filibuster."
Udall proposes that senators who wish to hold up a piece of legislation be required to engage in a "talking filibuster," in which they would continuously speak on the floor, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"-style, rather than simply using a failed cloture vote to kill a bill.
Udall also wants to eliminate so-called "anonymous holds" that allow any senator to issue a silent objection, freezing a bill or nomination.
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