Senators still talking about filibusters | Bleader

Senators still talking about filibusters


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Want to kill a bill in the Senate? Mums the word.
  • DonkeyHotey
  • Want to kill a bill in the Senate? Mum's the word.
The Senate's first day of business will last for at least one more. Senate majority leader Harry Reid recessed proceedings this afternoon instead of adjourning them. That's because the Senate can change its procedures only on the first legislative day of a session, and no agreement has yet been reached on changing the filibuster rules. Recessing instead of adjourning means that tomorrow will still be today.

Reid said on the Senate floor today that the body will first revisit legislation to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. One that's done, he said, "the Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love work more effectively. We will consider changes to the United States Senate rules." The Senate would recess instead of adjourn "to continue the same legislative day, and allow this important rules discussion to continue."

He added that he was "hopeful the Republican leader and I will reach an agreement that allows the Senate to operate more effectively."

But the Senate might operate more effectively if Reid and minority leader Mitch McConnell don't reach an agreement. That's because Reid appears to be leaning toward a bipartisan change that wouldn't address the "silent filibuster" that allows senators to filibuster a bill without being present. A tougher proposal, from Democrats Tom Udall, Jeff Merkley, and Tom Harkin, would require the filibustering party to have at least one senator on the floor and talking to keep a filibuster alive.

Reid told reporters this afternoon he hoped he could get an agreement with Republicans in the next 24 to 36 hours. If not, he said, "We're going to move forward on what I think needs to be done."


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