This week on The Big Picture With Thom Hartmann, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) laid out a path to fundamentally change the way the filibuster works. Merkeley told Hartmann to “mark this date on your calendar: January 5th. That’s the date we’re going to come in for the next Congress, and it’s on that date that a group of us is trying to pass a motion for the Senate to adopt new rules.”
Merkley then went on to explain his proposal for the new filibuster rules. The senator explained that by assembling 51 votes at the start of the new Senate, he wants to change the chamber’s rules so that when a senator engages in a filibuster, they have to go to the floor of the Senate, “defend your position, hold the floor, and if you’re not there, the Senate goes forth and holds a majority vote.” In other words, Merkley is proposing that if senators want to filibuster bills, they actually have to show up and physically spend time on the floor of the Senate to stop bills from going forth. “Hopefully we can bring together that magic 51 to say let’s make it function, the Senate function, to be that deliberative body that it once was,” he concluded.
If the Republicans are going to block any any all Senate business, then make them be there to do it. It's a great plan, one that should have been implemented as soon as the 111th Congress started. Having said that with Republicans controlling the House, there's no reason to make this a priority either. Nothing will pass the House that isn't a 100% Republican plan anyway. It almost certainly will be a moot point.