Filibuster reform advocates urge Reid to reject bipartisan group's proposal

Filibuster reform advocates are urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to reject a proposal on the procedural measure introduced by a bipartisan group of senators.

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The Fix the Senate Now coalition wants Reid to say "Thanks but no thanks" to the proposal introduced by eight Senate Democrats and Republicans on Friday. 

The McCain-Levin proposal would give the Senate majority leader two options to move to new business. One option would allow the leader to prohibit a filibuster on a motion to proceed in exchange for guaranteeing the minority leader votes on two amendments to the legislation up for consideration. The second option would allow the majority leader to immediately hold a vote to limit debate on a motion to proceed to new business as long as the minority leader and five senators from each Senate caucus approved of the move. 

The proposal seeks to streamline the process for moving legislation to conference negotiations with the House. It would also speed the consideration of lower-level nominees to the executive and judicial branches. But it does little to make it more difficult for senators to block final votes on legislation and nominees.

The Fix the Senate Now group argues that the proposal lacks "transparency and accountability," allows the problems surrounding the filibuster to continue, and "does not sufficiently streamline the executive branch or judicial nominations process for all nominations…"

The Fix the Senate Now coalition is instead calling for a different set of reforms.

"Eliminate the ability to filibuster the motion to proceed; require that those wishing to block legislation or nominations take the floor and actually filibuster—i.e., mandating 'talking filibusters'; assert that 41 Senators must affirmatively vote to continue debate rather than forcing 60 Senators to vote to end debate; and, streamline the confirmation process for all nominees by eliminating the currently required 30 hours of post cloture debate on a nominee to zero or at a minimum no more than 2 hours," the coalition argues.

Also on Friday, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said Reid now has the 51 votes required for him to change Senate procedures on the filibuster.