Senate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules

Senate leaders failed, at least for now, to reach a deal Tuesday night to speed up votes on amendments to the impeachment trial rules. 
 
 
This would have set them up for back-to-back votes, negating the need for the House managers and Trump's defense team to debate each one before each vote.
 
McConnell, noting that "there's a certain similarity to all these amendments," asked in a floor speech whether Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans MORE (D-N.Y.) "might be willing to enter into a consent agreement to stack these votes." 
 
Schumer did not agree, though he did signal a willingness to delay some of the votes until Wednesday. 
 
"As has been clear to every senator and the country, we believe witnesses and documents are extremely important, and a compelling case has been made for them. We will have votes on all of these. The leader, without consulting us, made changes, a number of significant changes that significantly deviated from the 1999 Clinton resolution. We want to change those," Schumer said from the Senate floor, responding to McConnell. 
 
He added that "there will be a good number of votes" but said Democrats were willing to hold some of them on Wednesday. 
 
But agreeing to kick the fight over the impeachment rules into Wednesday would go against McConnell's pledge, made earlier Tuesday, that the Senate would stay in session until they passed the rules resolution. 
 
Democrats have already forced votes on four amendments: three requests for documents related to the delayed Ukraine aid and an effort to subpoena acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic Trump taps Brooke Rollins as acting domestic policy chief MORE. The impeachment trial started at 1 p.m., and without a deal to speed up the process, the Senate will stay in session until the early hours of Wednesday. 
 
McConnell noted that "all of these amendments under the resolution could be dealt with at the appropriate time." He then effectively paused the Senate trial so that staff and senators could try to see if there was a deal. 
 
McConnell was spotted chatting with a cadre of Republican senators during the break, including Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US death toll nears 100,000 as country grapples with reopening GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K MORE (S.D.), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyTop Republican says Trump greenlit budget fix for VA health care GOP senators not tested for coronavirus before lunch with Trump McConnell, GOP senators support exempting VA health funds from budget caps MORE (Ala.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) and Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions The age of handshakes may be over — so how to seal the deal now? MORE (Kansas). 
 
 
But once the Senate came back, there was no announcement of a deal. 
 
Instead, Schumer offered the fifth Democratic amendment — one that tries to compel the Defense Department to hand over Ukraine-related documents. 
 
Asked if that meant they had failed to get a deal, a spokesman for the Democratic leader told The Hill that was "correct, for now." 
 
"For the time being, arguments and votes on Sen. Schumer’s amendments will continue," the spokesman added in an email to reporters.