Thursday, January 27, 2011
Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today agreed to changes in the Senate's filibuster practices. But the basic cloture rule appears to remain intact. We most recently posted on the issue here (where we predicted that the Senate would not achieve filibuster reform this Congress).
According to the Washington Post, the Senate leaders agreed to end secret holds, the practice in which a single anonymous senator can hold-up action until the majority can muster 60 votes. But leaders also agreed to retain the basic 60-vote requirement for cloture under Senate Rule XXII, the cloture rule. The agreement ends one of the most controversial aspects of the filibuster--the anonymous hold--but falls short of reform that some sought.
The Senate leaders also announced agreements to allow the waiving of the reading of an amendment under certain circumstances and to drop the Senate confirmation process for about 400 federal agency nominees. Both measures will help speed up Senate business; the latter measure will help ensure that federal agencies are fully staffed.