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Posted at 12:41 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Here it is: The filibuster reform package!

By Greg Sargent

Here's a copy of the filibuster reform resolution that Senate Democrats will introduce later today, sent over by an aide to Tom Udall, one of the key Senators driving this campaign.

While the broad outlines of the proposal were already public, the details were being debated by Senators Udall, Jeff Merkley, Tom Harkin and Amy Klobuchar until as late as yesterday. The actual resolution is important, because it will serve as a jumping off point for the debate over reform that will unfold over the next couple of weeks.

Here's a summary of the main items, also provided by a Udall aide:

Clear Path to Debate: Eliminate the Filibuster on Motions to Proceed

Makes motions to proceed not subject to a filibuster, but provides for two hours of debate. This proposal has had bipartisan support for decades and is often mentioned as a way to end the abuse of holds.

Eliminates Secret Holds

Prohibits one Senator from objecting on behalf of another, unless he or she discloses the name of the senator with the objection. This is a simple solution to address a longstanding problem.

Right to Amend: Guarantees Consideration of Amendments for both Majority and Minority

Protects the rights of the minority to offer amendments following cloture filing, provided the amendments are germane and have been filed in a timely manner.

This provision addresses comments of Republicans at last year's Rules Committee hearings. Each time Democrats raised concerns about filibusters on motions to proceed, Republicans responded that it was their only recourse because the Majority Leader fills the amendment tree and prevents them from offering amendments. Our resolution provides a simple solution -- it guarantees the minority the right to offer germane amendments.

Talking Filibuster: Ensures Real Debate

Following a failed cloture vote, Senators opposed to proceeding to final passage will be required to continue debate as long as the subject of the cloture vote or an amendment, motion, point of order, or other related matter is the pending business.

Expedite Nominations: Reduce Post-Cloture Time

Provides for two hours of post-cloture debate time for nominees. Post cloture time is meant for debating and voting on amendments -- something that is not possible on nominations. Instead, the minority now requires the Senate use this time simply to prevent it from moving on to other business.

More in a bit.

UPDATE, 2:52 p.m.: Here's some more intel from Senate aides on how Harry Reid views the way forward on reform.

By Greg Sargent  | January 5, 2011; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  Senate Dems, filibuster  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Tea Party does not own the Constitution
Next: Harry Reid sure sounds serious about filibuster reform

Comments

Looks good. Yes and it would still look good even if the Republicans were in the majority.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 5, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are adults.

Republicans? Not so much.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 5, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

This is actually better than I expected. I especially like the Expedite Nominations part and the no secret holds.

Posted by: michiganmaine | January 5, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

It'll lead to a more civil discussion which means its off the table for the Teahadists.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 5, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

No secret holds! Yes, yes, a thousand times!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 5, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Excellent start, but I suggest the Senate go even one step further and TURN OFF C-SPAN during talking filibusters.

Otherwise, these new rules are just going to become an excuse for turning the floor of the U.S. Senate into an auxiliary FOX News studio.

Dear Harry Reid and other Senate Democrats: DO NOT water these proposals down.

Posted by: paul65 | January 5, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

And here is what DeMint is encouraging Republicans to do in regards to these reforms.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ERVUMbeYuQ4/TOr3JYJUptI/AAAAAAAAAEM/nYyifN4WFro/s1600/HeadButt-775611.jpg

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 5, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

To my esteemed Senators Gillibrand and Shumer: I am waiting for your strong, public commitments to support the Udall plan.

Posted by: paul65 | January 5, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"no secret holds"

Huge. Proponents of open, fair government should support this. Tea drinkers, this means you.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

"Right to Amend: Guarantees Consideration of Amendments for both Majority and Minority"

This was Sen Alexander's beef with filibuster reform, on Newshour last night. Udall did not then hint that this would be in the package.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I like the expediting nominations part.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 5, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Where's the juice? This is way too transparent; it isn't in the spirit of Citizens United, so it may be unconstitutional.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 5, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

7 minutes have just passed without a single tear from Big Boner. Someone make sure he's not dead.

Posted by: paul65 | January 5, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

No secret holds, and Talking Filibuster. DEfinitely both of these.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 5, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Liberals:


Repeat after me


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner

Thank you. No more jamming through the liberal agenda against the will of the American People


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

What's the Troll Blocker link?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 5, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

These sound remarkably reasonable. That almost guarantees they'll be DOA in D.C.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 5, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar:

http://userscripts.org/scripts/review/89140

Posted by: Michigoose | January 5, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

12BB:

https://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 5, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I think that looks all well and good, but by putting this up for two weeks of debate it is the health care reform all over again. Repubs will just gin up their propaganda machine and the mewling crowd will slowly begin think it equals communism.

Honestly I don't believe the Dems have the spine to follow through.

Posted by: Alex3 | January 5, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

This looks fair. I'd leave off the talking filibuster changes for now and see how the other ones work out in practice before changing that.

How do these affect filibusters of executive branch and judicial nominations? One other reform proposal that would probably be a good idea would be to either eliminate the filibuster for executive branch positions or dramatically reduce the number of executive branch positions that require Senate confirmation. I'd actually recommend reducing them to the heads of the various departments (State, Treasury, etc) and their immediate deputies who would take over in an acting capacity if the Secretaries were to resign.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 5, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Also:

"Protects the rights of the minority to offer amendments following cloture filing, provided the amendments are germane and have been filed in a timely manner. "

I assume the Senate parliamentarian will determine what constitutes "germane"?

Posted by: jnc4p | January 5, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@sue,

Thanks for the link. What a relief. I had hard disk Armageddon over the weekend and have had to restore everything.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 5, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Nancy for being so charming in your remarks


.......... and for making the mistakes that made this day possible.


I have to say that if she had listened to the simple common sense written on this and Chris Cillizza's blogs, she would still be Speaker.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This sounds like a good start and I hope that the people we sent to Washington, D.C. to represent us have enough backbone to bring it on. This will be a good thing to re-start our Democracy.

Posted by: gilbertpb40 | January 5, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

12Bar


You are a troll, and you harass people

First on Chris's blog and again


YOUR RUDENESS KNOWS NO BOUNDS


How is it that your lesbian character forces you to be so UNCIVIL AND HOSTILE ALL THE TIME

Please stop.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

While they are reading the Constitution, here's a little "language problem". Didn't Michele Bachmann say the Constitution says "what it says".

(CNN) -- A group of state legislators opposed to illegal immigration plan to propose a legislative "fix" Wednesday that would prevent children of illegal immigrants born in the United States from being citizens, a spokesman said.

The group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, will reveal their strategy at a Wednesday morning news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Ty McCauslin said.

The coalition counts members from 40 states. It argues that the 14th Amendment has been wrongly applied to so-called "anchor babies."

The 14th Amendment says that "all persons born ... in the United States" automatically become U.S. citizens.
-----------------------------------------------------
Let's see, what could be up to interpretation? Maybe the word "persons", or the word "born" or the words "United States".

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 5, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

@Rain = "Thank you. No more jamming through the liberal agenda against the will of the American People"

The American people voted for the liberal agenda. The only reason Boner is speaker is because most liberals were discouraged because the legislation wasn't liberal enough. Had the Dems turned out to vote this may be a very different congress. So when you say, "against the will of the American People" be sure to specify which part of American people you mean and not use that term as a blanket statement as if every American was in disagreement...


Holds... The use of holds is to give Senators more time to investigate the nominee. Indefinite holds for political gain is blatant abuse and leads to back room deal making which we all agree needs to stop. I believe holds should be timed like say 90 days at which time a person should be brought to a vote. I also don't see the point in filibustering nominations, they should get a simple up or down vote...

We need to remove much of the power individual Senators have and make them work with their constitutional power which is 1/100th of the body known as the Senate. One Senator being able to single handedly halt legislation or nominee's isn't in the constitution...

Posted by: soapm | January 5, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

12Bar

Unfortunately for YOU, they have to read the 10th Amendment before they get to the 14th Amendment


Perhaps we need another Amendment to clarify that Illegal aliens cant come here, have anchor babies and gain citizenship that way.


THAT has been ABUSED

I cant imagine any reasonable person supporting that ABUSE


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Life is so improved with that link to the troll blocker. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is like our own little filibuster reform.

Posted by: michiganmaine | January 5, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@michiganmaine,

Ain't life sweet? It's a win-win. We don't have to read Rainforest, and Rainforest doesn't have to read us.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 5, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Liberals:


Repeat after me


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Speaker John Boehner


Thank you. No more jamming through the liberal agenda against the will of the American People

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are adults.

Republicans? Not so much.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 5, 2011 12:54 PM
______________________________


oh yea this comment proves how mature you are

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

soapm | January 5, 2011 2:11 PM


WOW I have to call you a liar


First the democrats twist the meaning of the 2008 election, now we hear things like this

The American People do NOT want the liberal agenda


Grow up and ACCEPT IT

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 5, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Hilarious headline on USAToday.com right now:

"Boehner Elected House Speaker, Takes Gavel From Pelosi, Cries Like a Tiny Little Girl"

Posted by: paul65 | January 5, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

All, some new intel on Harry Reid and filibuster reform:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/harry_reid_sure_sounds_serious.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 5, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

soap -- RFR is the most empty-headed trollbot in the universe. nobody here reads him or replies -- waste of time. here's something you can use to block the meaningless spew:


https://userscripts.org/scripts/show/89140

Posted by: fiona5 | January 5, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

12barblues writes
"Let's see, what could be up to interpretation? Maybe the word "persons", or the word "born" or the words "United States"."

Clearly 'born', as in 'natural-born' refers only to naturally delivered children. Children delivered via Caesarian are NOT natural born citizens. Whether 'persons' only refers to children who share the womb during gestation is unclear. SCOTUS - what say you?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Clarence Thomas wants to study this issue more closely.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 5, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

one might say 'intimately'.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 5, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010

you're kidding right? Democrats = adults? Guess you've been sucking down too much of Obama's Cool-Aid.

Posted by: jdubyaa | January 5, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I am a serious Republican and I find these proposed rules to be very reasonable.

But, is there something else not being mentioned here?

Posted by: JBaustian | January 5, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, I thought this had to be done the first day of the session.

Posted by: mtravali | January 5, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@paul65 "Excellent start, but I suggest the Senate go even one step further and TURN OFF C-SPAN during talking filibusters.

Otherwise, these new rules are just going to become an excuse for turning the floor of the U.S. Senate into an auxiliary FOX News studio."

Presumably you opposed C-Span covering Bernie Sanders extended speech opposing the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts in the lame duck session?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/10/bernie-sanders-filibuster_n_795087.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/bernie-sanders-filibuster_b_795012.html

Or should C-Span only be turned off when it's the Republicans talking?

Posted by: jnc4p | January 5, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@JBaustian "I am a serious Republican and I find these proposed rules to be very reasonable.

But, is there something else not being mentioned here?"

Nope, you are correct. If these are the actual proposals, then they are reasonable and fair. The section on the Right to Amend and the fact that the filibuster is only being eliminated on the Motion to Proceed are significant concessions to what the Republicans (or more accurately, the Senate Minority) wanted.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 5, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

People having anchor babies might be hiding pills in their undies.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 5, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry that it took the Dems 4 years to do this, but, they did it and I'm glad. It sounds good. Now let's see what the Repubs say, and why--I could be missing something, or, they could sink themselves before this Congress even begins. I know that it can't be done, but, government has worked much better, for the most part, when the House has a majority of one party, and the Senate a majority of the other--I guess I wouldn't even determine how much of a majority. I hope the Repubs will listen to the Dems (turn about is fair play, but it makes for lousy governing--we elected more Repubs because we are sick of the Dems ignoring ideas from the other party). I'm a conservative, but, I want to hear ideas from all sides/ideologies, as long as it is presented in an honest, factual, and civil manner.

Posted by: coffic | January 5, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree with jnc4p (again) and serious Republicans are my political enemies. This is good for the goose and the gander. It is the right thing to do.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 5, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

It is about time! The whole concept of allowing a member to announce to the chamber that he is "officially filibustering a bill, and sit down, thereby removing it from discussion is obscene. Get up, and start talking. What a joke!

Posted by: atc333 | January 5, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It is about time! The whole concept of allowing a member to announce to the chamber that he is "officially filibustering a bill, and sit down, thereby removing it from discussion is obscene. Get up, and start talking. What a joke!

Posted by: atc333 | January 5, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the usual suspects could not resist badmouthing somebody, anybody, just for the heck of it. The noise these children make drowns out any positive message they could have shared with us.

Time for them to learn the lesson: be civil or be ignored.

Posted by: castleb | January 5, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

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