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 Health Care: Trump health chief backs CDC research on gun violence | GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix | Groups sue over cuts to teen pregnancy program GOP negotiators meet on ObamaCare market fix 30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help 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.”

Kyl said Democrats lack the votes needed to advance their plans, giving them incentive to reach a compromise.
Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWashington puts Ethiopia's human rights abusers on notice Overnight Defense: Mattis vows Dreamers in military won't be deported | Pentagon unsure if military parade will be in Washington | Dem bill would block funds for parade Dems introduce bills to block funds for Trump's proposed parade 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 Lunsford 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 Milton LevinSen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats The Hill's 12:30 Report Congress needs bipartisanship to fully investigate Russian influence MORE (D-Mich.) and, according to The Huffington Post, Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.).
Democrats led by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion 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 Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake 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.