Pick the adjective -- broken, dysfunctional, gridlocked. In the minds of many observers, they all apply to the modern Senate. The perception, particularly after this year’s health care votes, is that this is an institution gone badly off track, where procedural and partisan wrangling has entangled the nation’s business at a time when the country needs an efficient, functioning government more than ever. That's why a group of younger Democrats is studying past efforts to change the Senate's rules.
Illuminating this story are video interviews with three of the people CQ talked with about the Senate and its history -- Senate Historian Donald A. Ritchie, Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and former Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove. Also in this package are a slide show of images reflecting the evolution of the filibuster, plus graphics and background data on cloture motions and the rise of the 60-vote Senate.