U.S. Senator Tom Udall

Air Dates: January 12-14, 2013

THIS WEEK: U.S. SENATOR TOM UDALL (D-NM)

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is New Mexico's senior U.S. Senator Tom Udall. As the 17th senator from New Mexico, Udall pays tribute to Senator Bingaman on his retirement and honors great senators of the past who helped establish the important federal presence in New Mexico, with the two national labs and military bases, and public lands such as national parks.

The Senator explains how his appointment to the powerful Appropriations Committee will help ensure that the federal presence so crucial to the New Mexico economy stays strong.

Filibuster reform is a major historical event. The rules haven't been changed since 1975 and it is a hot and urgent issue, led by our own senator. The national spotlight is on the Senate and whether they can break out of paralysis and gridlock to get the people's business done.

Udall is spearheading the effort to reform the filibuster in the Senate and end the paralysis and gridlock in that chamber. Senate Resolution 4, sponsored by Udall, Merkley, and Harkins, changes the present stealth filibuster back to the original talking filibuster, the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”-type of filibuster. He emphasizes that when he deals with issues in Washington such as filibuster reform and making the Senate work better, it is because he hears from New Mexicans about how these issues are impacting their daily lives.

Even in this gridlocked Senate, Udall has gotten two major pieces of legislation passed unanimously – the Burn Pit Registry, that will help veterans, and moving New Mexico's Katie's Law to the national level. The Senator also discusses Real ID and New Mexico driver's licenses, Wall Street reform, and past glory days in the Senate.

Quotes – Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) regarding the filibuster

“I would like to emphasize that when I deal with issues in Washington like filibuster reform and making the Senate work better, it is really because I hear from New Mexicans about how this is impacting them.”

"There is a real strong point here that New Mexicans, all the things that they want us to be doing creating jobs, preventing middle class taxes from going up, passing economic development legislation, protecting our national labs and bases and giving them adequate budgets, with the filibuster we aren’t able to do those things. So this is impacting New Mexicans’ lives every day,"

“The American people, New Mexicans, they care about these issues - whether it is energy or climate change or education or how do we create jobs…growing our economy right now. We are seeing the Jobs Bill was blocked from the Floor, campaign finance blocked from the Floor. Here in New Mexico at this point in time we are actually losing jobs. We haven't seen a situation like this for a long time and so Harry Reid tried to put a Jobs Bill on the Floor, it was blocked with a filibuster. That shows you where we are and so we're going back to the original filibuster, the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”- type filibuster. If you want to filibuster and you have got a matter of principle, get down there on the Floor and talk about it.”

“There is a bi-partisan effort in this that is going on, and I can tell you from my many visits on the Republican side, there have been so many expressions of disillusionment. These are the newer senators coming in and they spend a couple of years and say ‘You know I can't believe this place, what is going on here? Why is everything getting held up?’ And so there is disenchantment on their side and there is disenchantment on our side, and we are going to get something done here.”