Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) will present colleagues with options for reforming the Senate’s filibuster rules in a Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday.
Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellStudy: Trump tops recent GOP presidents in signing bills in first 100 days Senate passes stopgap funding bill to avert shutdown Let’s never talk about a government shutdown — ever again MORE (Ky.) are close to reaching a deal to speed the pace of work in the Senate, but some of the details remain unresolved.
In recent days, Reid has begun to focus on a proposal to tweak the filibuster rule by requiring the minority party to muster 41 votes to stall a bill or nominee. Under current rules, the responsibility is on the majority to round up 60 votes to end a filibuster.
Reid will insist on reducing delays to motions to begin debate on new business and motions to send legislation to conference talks with the House, according to Senate sources.
Democratic proponents of filibuster reform emphasize that Reid does not yet have a final package. They are holding out hope that Reid can be persuaded to include the talking filibuster after a caucus debate.
A Senate Republican source said Reid and McConnell would present the rough outlines of a potential deal to their caucuses this week before finalizing it.
Reid will not trigger the so-called nuclear option on Tuesday, as some Republicans have feared. Under the nuclear option, Reid could change the Senate’s rules with a simple majority vote.
Proponents of the tactic, such as Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallDems blast Trump's policies at Climate March IT modernization bill reintroduced in Congress Overnight Energy: Trump orders review of national monuments, claiming ‘egregious abuse’ MORE (D-N.M.), call it the “constitutional option,” arguing that the Constitution allows the Senate to set its own rules at the start of a new Congress.
Reid has extended the first “legislative day” of the 113th Congress for more than two weeks to give him the opportunity to trigger the nuclear option if he fails to reach a deal with McConnell.
A Democratic aide said Reid would have at least 51 votes to implement whatever reforms have consensus support within the caucus.
But Reid does not want to start the new Congress on a sourly partisan note and would prefer to negotiate a bipartisan alternative.
Republicans have asked that any reform guarantee the minority party the chance to offer amendments in exchange for ending filibusters of motions to proceed to new business.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers reintroduce online sales tax bills Democrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Senators warn of 'dangerous' cuts to International Affairs Budget MORE (Ill.) said Reid would not trigger the nuclear option Tuesday. He hopes a compromise will emerge by week’s end.
“We’re close. We’re very close. It really comes down to one or two relatively minor angles that we ought to resolve,” he said.
Several senior and centrist Democrats have balked at reforming the filibuster rule to require senators to actively hold the floor. They include Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDemocrats exploring lawsuit against Trump Overnight Finance: Dems explore lawsuit against Trump | Full-court press for Trump tax plan | Clock ticks down to spending deadline Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee MORE (Calif.), Max BaucusMax BaucusChanging of the guard at DC’s top lobby firm GOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through MORE (Mont.), Carl LevinCarl LevinFor the sake of American taxpayers, companies must pay their fair share What the Iran-Contra investigation can teach us about Russia probe Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral MORE (Mich.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDems struggle with abortion litmus test Senators push 'cost-effective' reg reform Congress nears deal on help for miners MORE (W.Va.) and 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 (Ark.).
“I am looking forward to the meeting on Tuesday because my understanding is that a plan is going to be put forward,” said Feinstein. “I would hope that we wouldn’t have to use the nuclear option. I would hope that the two parties can agree, and there’s some indication that that might happen.”