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New Mexico Watchdog: On filibuster reform, Udall tells NM Watchdog, “We don’t want to shut down the process. We just want to make it work better.”

Since getting elected to the US Senate, one of Tom Udall‘s pet projects has been to change the filibuster rules he says clog things up on the Senate floor.

Sen. Udall’s wish may come true later this month but it even has some fellow Democrats worried.

Despite that, Udall told Capitol Report New Mexico he’s optimistic that the filibuster will be overhauled:

“I think we’ll have the votes to change the rules at the beginning of the Congress,” Udall said while in Santa Fe Monday afternoon (Jan. 7), adding that the Senate has become “a graveyard for good ideas.”

New Mexico Telegram: Heinrich supports Udall’s ‘constitutional option’

New U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich supports Sen. Tom Udall’s “constitutional option” towards reforming the filibuster in the Senate.

Heinrich was elected in November and sworn in as a U.S. Senator last week.

Heinrich replaces Jeff Bingaman, another strong proponent of filibuster reform.

Heirnich spokeswoman Whitney Potter said in an email to New Mexico Telegram, “Martin supports Senator Tom Udall’s efforts to reform the filibuster through the constitutional option and looks forward to working alongside him to ensure that the Senate rules do not result in gridlock or prevent vital legislation from moving forward.”

Politico: Young reformers rule the Senate

The Senate’s old bulls are rapidly fading as a band of more junior members in both parties seek to upend the seniority system that has ruled the chamber for generations.

Reformers such as Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) want to end filibusters in a handful of circumstances and bring back the Senate of yesteryear, when it was rare to engage in a nonstop talking session and force senators to actually go to the floor and make good on their threats. And they are pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to change the rules by 51 votes — rather than a two-thirds majority — a move that could make it much easier to ram through future rules changes.

The New Mexican: Filibuster reform: We need it now

The first day of the 113th Congress took place last week. But fortunately, for the hopes of filibuster reform in the U.S. Senate, opening day will continue later this month, likely Jan. 22. It is, after all, on the opening day of a session that the Senate can revise its rules with a simple majority of 51 votes — and a rules revision to make it easier to do the people’s business is desperately needed.

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, a Democrat, has been a leader in the efforts to reform the U.S. Senate, a move that should not be seen as partisan. Should easing the logjam of holds on bills and appointments help the Democratic majority right now, a rules change could assist Republicans in the future. In politics, no majority is permanent, after all. However, Udall and others — notably U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat — are right to keep pressing for substantive reform in how the contemplative Senate does its work.

The Hill: Senate Dem freshmen want party to back ‘talking filibuster’

Seven new Democrats voiced support Thursday for instituting the so-called talking filibuster rule as the core component of reform.

Junior Democrats, including Sens. Tom Udall (N.M.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.), say unless lawmakers are required to sustain live floor debates, the chamber will remain gridlocked most of the time. They favor using the nuclear option, which they call the “constitutional option,” to effect this change through a simple majority vote. But they need 51 of the 55 members of the Senate Democratic Conference to back them.

KOB: NM-backed DNA legislation goes to president

Legislation named after a slain New Mexico State University student has been passed by Congress and is now awaiting the president’s signature.

U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall reignited the push for a national “Katie’s Law” last year. The legislation was aimed at creating incentives for states to implement programs to collect DNA from individuals arrested or charged with serious crimes.

The legislation passed the Senate late Friday. House approval came the week before Christmas.

ABQJournal: Senate Passes Udall’s Burn Pit Registry Bill

The Senate has unanimously approved Sen. Tom Udall’s bill that would create a national registry for service members and veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes from open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The measure was inspired in part by Master Sgt. Jessey Baca, a South Valley man diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, mesothelial hyperplasia and constrictive bronchiolitis after serving in Iraq. Baca told me last year that he has been debilitated with severe respiratory and pulmonary illness since returning from duty at the Balad military base. A doctor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville,Tenn., ultimately diagnosed Baca’s terminal illness and connected it to the burn pit pollution in Iraq, Baca said.

The New Mexican: The people’s voice: Speaker Ben Luján

New Mexico lost a champion with the death of House Speaker Ben Luján, who died Tuesday night after a fierce struggle with lung cancer.

His story epitomizes the American Dream — that in the United States, through hard work and talent, anything is possible. Born the son of a sheepherder in Nambé, voted most likely to succeed in his graduating class, rising to the middle class as an ironworker at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and turning to politics as a way of serving his community and state, Luján lived to see a son elected to Congress. He was both a high school basketball star and a champion of unions, a man of humble background who became a person of power and influence. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Carmen, and his four children, including Congressman Ben Ray Luján.