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 AlexanderMcConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks GOP senators propose bill to pay 'excepted' workers during shutdown 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 CardinDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries GOP senators would support postponing State of the Union 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 LevinListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — White House to 'temporarily reinstate' Acosta's press pass after judge issues order | Graham to take over Judiciary panel | Hand recount for Florida Senate race MORE (D-Mich.) and, according to The Huffington Post, Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainListen, learn and lead: Congressional newcomers should leave the extremist tactics at home Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO MORE (R-Ariz.), Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerProtecting our judiciary must be a priority in the 116th Congress Baldwin's Trump plays 'Deal or No Deal' with shutdown on 'Saturday Night Live' Sunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal MORE (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamExperts warn of persistent ISIS threat after suicide bombing Graham: Trump should meet Pakistan's leader to reset relations State of American politics is all power games and partisanship MORE (R-S.C.).
 
Democrats led by Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyDem senator requests FBI investigate Nielsen for potential perjury Trump officials discussed ‘deterrent effect’ of prosecuting migrant parents: report Senate Democrats hold talkathon to protest partial shutdown 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 ReidSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Harry Reid knocks Ocasio-Cortez's tax proposal: Fast 'radical change' doesn't work Overnight Defense: Trump rejects Graham call to end shutdown | Coast Guard on track to miss Tuesday paychecks | Dems eye Trump, Russia probes | Trump talks with Erdogan after making threat to Turkey's economy 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.