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 AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending 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 CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report 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 PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) and Carl LevinCarl LevinCongress: The sleeping watchdog Congress must not give companies tax reasons to move jobs overseas A lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies MORE (D-Mich.) and, according to The Huffington Post, Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Meghan McCain knocks Bannon: 'Who the hell are you' to criticize Romney? Dems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration We are running out of time to protect Dreamers US trade deficit rises on record imports from China MORE (R-S.C.).
 
Democrats led by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator 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 ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama 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.