Reid avoids filibuster and moves the Senate onto consideration of defense bill

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said proceeding to the bill this way was a preview of how the Senate could work more efficiently if the rule changes proposed by Reid are adopted in the next Congress.

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“What we did here was very deliberate,” Levin said on the floor Wednesday. “We proceeded to the bill on a motion … that way those who want to filibuster have to come and actually debate it … because that is the correct way in which we should operate.”

Reid has said he wants to end the filibuster on motions to proceed so that debate on legislation can begin sooner, making the Senate more efficient.

Levin and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) are managing the amendment process on the defense bill. McCain also said he supported the way the bill was brought up because it was time for the Senate to work hard on the issue. 

“We’re going to have amendments and debate and if that requires long hours, then I think our colleagues should be prepared to do that,” McCain said. “We’re not here to work three-day work weeks.”

McCain and Levin said they’re going to try to avoid pending amendments that are voted on after passage of the bill.

“There’s no reason to use a parliamentary mechanism to keep up from working on a bill that protects our brave men and women,” McCain said. “I urge all my colleagues to cooperate.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had been filibustering the defense bill because he wanted a vote on his amendment limiting indefinite detention.