Bipartisan group seeks compromise on Senate filibuster reform

A bipartisan group is offering Senate leaders a political compromise on filibuster reform as Democrats push to change rules that frequently require 60 votes to pass bills.

The group met Friday morning in the office of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, and plans to present its idea to the separate caucuses later in the day.
 
“We have given the leaders our private recommendations,” Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Overnight Healthcare: Mysterious new Zika case | Mental health bill in doubt | Teletraining to fight opioids Hopes dim for mental health deal MORE (R-Tenn.) told reporters in the Capitol after the meeting. “We have given them some suggestions, and we will describe that more after we have a chance to have a talk with ... our caucuses.”
 

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Kyl said Democrats lack the votes needed to advance their plans, giving them incentive to reach a compromise.
 
Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Democratic National Convention event calendar Bernie’s ‘revolution’ marches to Philly MORE (D-Md.) said the filibuster would be discussed at Democrats’ caucus lunch on Friday.
 
Lawmakers involved in the ad-hoc group, in addition to Kyl, Alexander and Cardin, include Sens. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D-Ark.) and Carl LevinCarl LevinAs other regulators move past implementing Dodd-Frank, the SEC falls further behind Will partisan politics infect the Supreme Court? Fight for taxpayers draws fire MORE (D-Mich.) and, according to The Huffington Post, Sens. John McCainJohn McCainFULL SPEECH: Tim Kaine accepts Democratic VP nomination Retired admiral: It would be a disaster if Trump were the face of the U.S. Panetta's Trump attack thrown off course MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles SchumerConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security The Trail 2016: Unity at last MORE (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTrump: 'I hope' Russia is able to get Clinton's emails Syria activists cheer Kaine pick Vulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine MORE (R-S.C.).
 
Democrats led by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOnly senator to back Bernie: Dems must unite Emphasis on diversity in Democratic convention lineup Clinton VP pick could face liberal ire MORE (D-Ore.) are pushing, over GOP opposition, to curb what have become frequent Republican filibusters, with changes such as requiring lawmakers to actually stay on the floor and talk in order to obstruct bills.
 
Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems urge Grayson to end Senate bid Reid: Trump is a 'hateful con man' Reid: DNC never gave Sanders a ‘fair deal’ MORE (D-Nev.) and Democrats have also proposed preventing filibusters on procedural motions that enable formal debate of bills.
 
The White House has signaled support for curbing use of the filibuster, but Republicans strongly oppose Reid’s plans to change the rules early in 2013 through a byzantine parliamentary tactic dubbed the "nuclear option" that only requires 51 votes.
 
Kyl told the reporters that the group is seeking a “middle ground,” and that many senators on both sides of the aisle “recognize that it would be a very bad precedent to invoke the nuclear option to, in effect, break the rules to change the rules.”
 
“I also think from the Democrats' standpoint, they probably don’t have a sufficient number of votes to do it at this point, so both sides have a reason to sit down and talk,” Kyl said.
 
Alexander said that “most senators would like to see the Senate function better,” but he did not provide details of the compromise plan.
 
“Basically what we want to do is for bills to come to the floor and once they get to have the opportunity to amend them, and we will see where we go,” he said.