Senate ends practice of secret holds

The Senate kicked off a series of stacked votes that would alter the Senate rules for the 112th Congress with a 92-4 vote to end the practice of secret holds.

“This legislation deals with a sweeping, almost unparalleled power,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said on the floor prior to the vote. “If you want to exercise that extraordinary power, you ought to do it in the sunlight.”

Secret holds allowed a senator to anonymously object to legislation or the approval of a nominee.

Although Senate leadership already agreed to stop the practice of secret holds in a gentleman’s agreement Thursday morning, the passage of Res. 28, the Wyden/Grassley/McCaskill Secret Holds Resolution, will codify the change and will apply to future sessions of Congress.

Sixty votes were required for adoption. 

The four Senators voting against the resolution were Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim DeMint (R- S.C.), and John Ensign (R-Nev.)