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Filibuster Deal Reached in Senate
Roll Call ^ | Jan. 24, 2013 | Niels Lesniewski

Posted on 01/24/2013 6:14:32 PM PST by neverdem

Senators voted overwhelming Thursday evening to enact a package of modest changes to the Senate’s rules and procedures, adopting an agreement brokered by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The Senate voted, 78-16, to adopt temporary rules changes for the 113th Congress, easily clearing a 60-vote threshold set up for the vote. Then, the Senate adopted a change to the chamber’s rules 86-9. As is customary, the chamber set a two-thirds threshold for the vote, since two-thirds of senators voting are required to limit debate on a rules change facing a filibuster under normal circumstances.

Neither party leader made floor speeches before the votes, which were the first roll calls of the 113th Congress.

While the package falls far short of what a group of more liberal Democratic senators had sought, it should accomplish one of Reid’s stated goals: allowing business to progress more quickly. In no case, however, will senators lose the right to force a 60-vote supermajority vote on bills and nominations as provided under the existing rules.

Most significantly, the package modifies Senate procedure to provide two new expedited options for bringing legislation to the floor.

On legislative items on which Reid and McConnell agree to take up, the cloture vote on the motion to proceed would take place the day after the motion is filed, eliminating a waiting day. In addition, there would be no further debate after cloture is invoked, cutting out another day. That falls short of doing away with the ability to filibuster motions to proceed altogether. (Cloture motions, which limit debate, require 60 votes for adoption.)

Reid would have a second choice, however. The majority could proceed to legislation without risk of an initial filibuster if it guaranteed that each party is allowed to offer a pair of amendments. Partially resolving a concern publicly raised by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, amendments offered through that process would be subject to an automatic 60-vote threshold if they are not germane. That’s based on an idea from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Shortly before the votes, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee cautioned that those changes could actually undermine the ability of all senators to have rights to offer amendments.

In addition, the rules package will make it easier to get bills into conference because senators will have only one chance to filibuster, rather than the three in place under the old rules. The difficulty of getting bills to conference has made the House-Senate negotiating process virtually defunct because only unanimous consent allows bills to go to conference without burning too much floor time.

Separate from the formal changes, Reid and McConnell appear to have another gentlemen’s agreement, similar to the one they entered into during the 2011 rules debate. This time, the leaders will say they agree to press senators to actually use post-cloture debate time and raise objections on the floor. That’s designed to end the constant quorum calls that have plagued the Senate in recent years.

Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico explained that if a senator asks for a quorum call after a bill has cleared a filibuster hurdle and a quorum is produced, further quorum calls would be construed as dilatory motions. Such motions are not in order after the 60-vote threshold has already been achieved and the move would allow the majority to call a vote. Udall had been among the senators championing more robust changes.

“There is a limitation on the use of the time after a cloture vote. Currently, you have 30 hours, and it’s 30 hours usually of quorum calls. This incessant roll-calling which leads people to go to their cable provider and complain that something’s wrong with my channel, the Senate’s not doing anything,” said Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.

“If senators seeking to slow down business simply put in quorum calls to delay action, the Senate will go live, force votes to produce a quorum and otherwise work to make sure Senators actually show up and debate,” a senior Democratic aide explained. The practice of holding live quorums has been rare in recent history.

That sort of handshake agreement caused qualms among more liberal senators and outsiders pushing for a “talking filibuster” that would require objecting senators to hold the floor. That was a central part of a rules overhaul (S Res 4) introduced by Harkin, Udall and fellow Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Among the outside groups opposed is Common Cause, which actually had filed a lawsuit to try to get the filibuster declared unconstitutional.

“My friend Harry Reid, the senator from Searchlight, Nev., has gone missing in the fight for filibuster reform,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar said. “The deal he and Sen. McConnell have struck allows individual senators to continue blocking debate and action by the entire body and to do so without explaining themselves to their colleagues or the American people.”

Udall, however, said that he would support the proposals.

“I’m going to vote for the proposals. This is progress. It’s moving us in the right direction,” Udall said. “This is not every thing I wanted, obviously.”

Merkley expressed a similiar sentiment in a statement, saying he would stay vigilent about the issues.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take a bolder step to fix the Senate, but what is most important today is the deep determination of Senators to return the Senate to a more functional institution,” he said. “If the modest steps taken today do not end the paralysis the Senate currently suffers, many Senators are determined to revisit this debate and explore stronger remedies.” On the issue of nominations, the Reid-McConnell agreement sets, as a standing order for the 113th Congress, much shorter limits on post-cloture debate on routine nominations. On district judicial nominations, which often get up-or-down votes anyway, the debate would be limited to two hours after breaking a filibuster, while there would be no more than eight hours on a host of other nominations, not including senior officials such as Cabinet nominees or other senior judgeships.


TOPICS: Front Page News; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: caves; filibuster; gop

1 posted on 01/24/2013 6:14:39 PM PST by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Scrooge the worthless Senate worried more about filthybuster rules than doing their job of passing a workable budget.


2 posted on 01/24/2013 6:24:22 PM PST by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: neverdem

Why? Can anyone answer why the minority would willingly give up the only power they have? The whole thing stinks. I almost wish I was a R so I could leave the party again and enjoy all the phone calls asking me to come back giving me the opportunity to unload.


3 posted on 01/24/2013 6:34:20 PM PST by 1malumprohibitum
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To: neverdem
I wonder if Reid provided the Vaseline or insisted McConnell bring his own? Remember McConnell was the genius who thought the last debt ceiling deal with the Super Committee and sequestrations would force the President and the Democrats to negotiate. How’d dat work out Mitchy Poo? Not only are the Republicans spineless, gutless, empty suits they are just plain stupid and couldn't win tic tac toe with 2 x’s already filled in.
4 posted on 01/24/2013 6:40:26 PM PST by cashless (Obama told us he would side with Muslims if the political winds shifted in an ugly direction. Ready?)
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To: neverdem

So the republicans “presented” and Harry promised a reach-around?


5 posted on 01/24/2013 6:44:17 PM PST by NonValueAdded (If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you've likely misread the situation.)
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To: neverdem

How can two people who are definately not gentlemen come to a “gentlemen’s agreement”?


6 posted on 01/24/2013 6:46:43 PM PST by kempster
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To: cashless

I don’t believe they’re this stupid any more than I believe Obozo is well-intentioned but completely clueless. The one-party system is doing this on purpose, and the sooner people realize that, the better off we’ll be.

It’s time for the Republican Party to join the Whig Party in the ashes of history.


7 posted on 01/24/2013 6:51:17 PM PST by Cato in PA (Land of the free and the home of the brave? Wrong on both counts.)
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To: neverdem
So who won and who lost this one?

The comments on here seem to suggest the Republicans caved, but other sites like Drudge and Breitbart are painting this as a huge cave on Reids part. The filibuster remains fully intact with just some irrelevant face saving tweaks to the rules so Reid can say he got something.

So which is it?

8 posted on 01/24/2013 6:55:25 PM PST by apillar
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To: cashless
Not only are the Republicans spineless, gutless, empty suits they are just plain stupid and couldn't win tic tac toe with 2 x’s already filled in.

Good cop/bad cop. Remember, every time democrats grab power, the Republicans inherit it when they're in charge. It's a win/win for them both, and a lose everything for America.

Why would they care how many of our freedoms are lost? THEY both gain power from it. If the shtf, they've got planes, bunkers, and private islands to flee to (that they've forced us to pay for!)

If anyone, from both the left and the right, thinks the politicians in Washington are doing what they do "for us", they're friggen nuts. None of it has anything to do with us. We're nothing but cattle - THEY own the farm.

9 posted on 01/24/2013 7:03:59 PM PST by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: neverdem

Expires in 2 years. Good if democrats hold the senate and the rules didn’t work out the way republicans intended.

Bad if republicans take a narrow majority, and then the democrats refuse to accept the same deal.


10 posted on 01/24/2013 7:05:46 PM PST by CharlesWayneCT
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To: CharlesWayneCT
Bad if republicans take a narrow majority, and then the democrats refuse to accept the same deal.

And the MSM portrays their refusal as "standing on principle."

11 posted on 01/24/2013 7:37:12 PM PST by Steely Tom (If the Constitution can be a living document, I guess a corporation can be a person.)
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To: apillar
So who won and who lost this one?

It depends, IMHO. McConnell yielded on minor points of procedure. Reid gave more by allowwing pertinent amendments from the GOP. Before he allowed none. Reid backed off on going nuclear with a 51 vote to do anything. The hard left are fuming.

Ruling the Senate

Why Democrats Should Fear Filibuster Reform

12 posted on 01/24/2013 8:03:36 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Headline:
“Filibuster Deal Reached in Senate”

Subtitle:
“Republicans rolled again”


13 posted on 01/24/2013 8:04:19 PM PST by Road Glide
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To: 1malumprohibitum

“Can anyone answer why the minority would willingly give up the only power they have? “

We won big in 2010. We controlled a lot of the redistricting. As a result, we should hold the house of rep. until 2012.

We can stop the bad stuff in the house.


14 posted on 01/24/2013 8:12:19 PM PST by staytrue
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To: Road Glide
Republicans rolled again is inaccurate, for this Republican Party seems to happily go along with the progressive agenda.
15 posted on 01/24/2013 8:29:36 PM PST by Rational Thought
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
If the Senate rules are now settled, I think McConnell got more than Reid, IMHO.

Ruling the Senate - A high-stakes effort to change the filibuster comes to a tentative end.

Why Democrats Should Fear Filibuster Reform

The ‘40 Percent’ Myth - The figure gun control advocates are throwing around is false. (John Lott)

Conservatives Underperform Our Issues

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

16 posted on 01/25/2013 12:14:57 AM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
If the Senate rules are now settled, I think McConnell got more than Reid, IMHO.

Ruling the Senate - A high-stakes effort to change the filibuster comes to a tentative end.

Why Democrats Should Fear Filibuster Reform

The ‘40 Percent’ Myth - The figure gun control advocates are throwing around is false. (John Lott)

Conservatives Underperform Our Issues

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

17 posted on 01/25/2013 12:15:54 AM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
If the Senate rules are now settled, I think McConnell got more than Reid, IMHO.

Ruling the Senate - A high-stakes effort to change the filibuster comes to a tentative end.

Why Democrats Should Fear Filibuster Reform

The ‘40 Percent’ Myth - The figure gun control advocates are throwing around is false. (John Lott)

Conservatives Underperform Our Issues

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

18 posted on 01/25/2013 12:16:51 AM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: All

Folks, Reid, with a Dem majority, couldn’t change his own rules. Reid lost and the rule changes are minor.


19 posted on 01/25/2013 3:52:31 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: staytrue

Correct, except SCOTUS appointments. Otherwise Reid backed down hard.


20 posted on 01/25/2013 3:54:31 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks neverdem:
If the Senate rules are now settled, I think McConnell got more than Reid, IMHO.

21 posted on 01/25/2013 3:56:56 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: SunkenCiv

I have thought forever that only live filibusters should be allowed, with 67 votes for cloture, and I still do.

The practice of “announcing” a filibuster without actual speaking is a recent development, and it sucks.

I would try to trade a move from 60 back to 67 with a “live debate only” rule.


22 posted on 01/25/2013 4:14:02 AM PST by Jim Noble (When strong, avoid them. Attack their weaknesses. Emerge to their surprise.)
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To: Cato in PA

Yep.


23 posted on 01/25/2013 5:37:45 AM PST by jospehm20
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


24 posted on 01/25/2013 6:02:57 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: neverdem
Evil lurks somewhere in every "DEAL" especially a deal reached with communist such as Reid...

"by the pricking of your thumbs, something wicked this way comes".

25 posted on 01/26/2013 5:05:59 AM PST by PoloSec ( Believe the Gospel: how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again)
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