Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) stood before a screen shot of Jimmy Stewart's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" film at about 2:35 p.m. on Thursday, as part of his pitch to convince his colleagues to vote for resolutions that would bring more transparency to Senate procedures.

The Senate tonight is expected to vote on three resolutions, probably around 8 p.m. According to Democratic leaders, votes will be held on resolutions that eliminate secret Senate holds, end the practice of forcing a reading of legislation in order to stall approval, and exempt about one-third of the Executive Branch nominations from the Senate confirmation process.

Democrats and Republicans agreed today to these procedural changes, and both agreed not to seek Senate rule changes by a simple majority vote.