Senate Majority Rules? Senator Wants Showdown on Filibuster Reform

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"Neither side knows after 2012 whether they're going to be in the majority or the minority," said Ross Baker, professor of political science at Rutgers University. "How much of a stick do the Democrats want to stick in the Republicans' eyes?"

Republicans point to the advice of outgoing Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who said in his farewell speech after five terms that he understood the "temptation" to change the filibuster rules.

"But whether such a temptation is motivated by a noble desire to speed up the legislative process or by pure political expedience, I believe such changes would be unwise," Dodd said in late November.

Baker agreed, suggesting the 60-vote threshold creates a demand for legislation more palatable to the American people.

"On really, really important things, you really do want a consensus," he said.

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