Kansas Republicans concerned that Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., gives Democrats a potential filibuster-proof majority might be surprised to learn that a former one of their own played a key role in making this possible. Former Kansas GOP Sen. James B. Pearson, who died this past January, spent the better part of two Senate terms collecting enough support to lower the votes required for cloture from 67 to 60, former Kansas Rep. Bill Roy noted. And that’s a good thing. Llowering the vote requirement has greatly helped the Senate function in recent year. "If today cloture required 67 votes, it is unlikely the Senate would get much done," Roy wrote. "It would make it extremely difficult to confirm judges, particularly Supreme Court nominees, in this era of extremism at both ends of the political spectrum."