Noting that he was stunned to learn, on his arrival in the Senate, of the “60 vote majority” needed to do business in 100-member Senate, Cowan said the rules need to be fixed:
COWAN: My view on it is this: I appreciate and respect the rules and the negotiations that led to that, but it’s currently getting in the way of too much of what we’re trying to get done — and need to get done. I think that when they’re important issues, be it nominations or legislation… that we need to have a chance to have votes, get to the issues, have real debate, and make decisions. I respect the role of the minority, I don’t believe in the majority rolling over the minority, but I don’t believe that’s what you get with a 50-vote threshold.
Noting that he does not believe there is any discriminatory intent, Cowan added that the effect of Senate Republican obstruction could be preventing diversity in government — such as stalled Labor Secretary-nominee Tom Perez. He added that the 60-vote threshold is “keeping the Senate from functioning effectively and efficiently in the work the American people need [it] to do.
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Appointed to the Senate by Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) to temporarily fill the vacant seat of Secretary of State John Kerry, Cowan brings a unique perspective: he has never run for the office and is not a candidate for election. On June 25, Bay State voters will elect a new Senator to fill the remaining 18 months of Kerry’s term. Kerry had been hesitant about cloture reform.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is reportedly considering a move prevent a minority of Senators from blocking confirmation of presidential appointees.