Reid may still invoke the 'nuclear option' on the filibuster/AP Photo
Dysfunction, obstructionism, beholden to big moneyed interests donating to their campaigns giving at least the appearance of corruption as well as arcane procedural rules have long characterized the U.S. Senate.
It's possible the dysfunction and obstructionism "could" be overcome today [i] if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democratic majority vote to change the rules and bring filibuster reform to the Senate.
Reid was able to put the new Senate's opening day of January 3 rd in "recess" thus allowing that opening day to "rollover". This was critical as any new Senate rules must be approved before the opening day's session is officially ended.
In particular, it's the filibuster rules, where currently it takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. Even worse just the "threat" of waging a filibuster is all it takes for any member to preclude any legislation, any vote on presidential appointments or any business from taking place until the threat is overcome and/or satisfied. Who knows how that is done as it's often done secretly so the public has no idea who is doing the obstructing.
As to the obstructing culprit it's usually a member of the minority party enabled by the minority party's leadership bringing what I refer to as the "tyranny of the minority".
Majority's don't rule, where it takes 60 votes to do anything, so much as the minority essentially dictating whatever is done in this "august" body.