Reid, McConnell reach compromise on speeding up legislative process

Senate leaders on Thursday announced a compromise aimed at speeding up the process of considering legislation and nominations, one that will be reflected in a colloquy between Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidGrassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Finance: Senate, House strike deal on Flint | Shutdown averted | Yellen defends Fed from Trump Overnight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGrassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Finance: Senate, House strike deal on Flint | Shutdown averted | Yellen defends Fed from Trump 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto MORE (R-Ky.).

First, Reid said, the understanding would put an end to secret holds on legislation, and he thanked Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security Overnight Regulation: Supporters push for TV box reforms ahead of vote Dems urge FCC to approve new box rules MORE (D-Ore.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley accuses Reid of 'pure unfiltered partisanship' Overnight Healthcare: Zika funding nears finish line | House expected to approve spending bill tonight | New pledge to push medical cures bill Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (R-Iowa) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillThe Trail 2016: Miss Universe crashes campaign McCaskill goes after Trump's weight Top general: 9/11 bill could subject US troops to foreign courts MORE (D-Mo.) for their work on this issue.

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"Senators will no longer be able to hide, and the light of day will shine harder on the Senate as a body," Reid said.

Reid said an agreement has also been reached to free up presidential nominees. He said Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerDemocrats press Wells Fargo CEO for more answers on scandal 78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto 3 ways the next president can succeed on immigration reform MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderLawmakers pledge push for cures bill in lame-duck Overnight Regulation: Lawsuits pile up against Obama overtime rule The American people are restive, discouraged and sometimes suicidal MORE (R-Tenn.), both members of the leadership and the Rules Committee, reached an agreement that should let the Senate "get rid" of about a third of these nominations, which require the Senate's approval — thus making the nomination process easier going forward.

Reid also said these senators would work with Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsSwing-state Republicans play up efforts for gun control laws Reid knocks GOP on gun 'terror loophole' after attacks GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Maine) on legislation to implement this agreement.

Third, he said senators agreed to forgo the forced reading of amendments in order to slow down the legislative process.

"It's wrong, and it's got to stop," Reid said.

Finally, Reid indicated that the two parties reached a compromise on cloture votes for motions to proceed, and the ability of the minority to post amendments.

Reid said that he and McConnell reached an agreement under which the Republicans agreed not to force the reading of amendments, and Democrats agreed not to "fill the amendment tree," which would give Republicans the ability to seek amendments.



McConnell took to the Senate floor after Reid spoke and said some votes would take place later Thursday evening to reflect the agreement. He indicated that these votes, which are expected around 7 or 8 p.m., could result in the approval of some, but not all, resolutions on Senate rules.


"We'll have the votes later, which will give the Senate a chance to go on record about some changes that have been agreed to, and some that are being proposed that are not agreed to," McConnell said.

Reid said the agreement means there will be no vote to alter Senate rules by a simple majority vote. "As part of this compromise, we agreed that I won't force a majority vote to fundamentally change the Senate — that is, the so-called constitutional option — and he won't either," Reid said.

— Josiah Ryan contributed to this story.