Reid, McConnell reach compromise on speeding up legislative process

Senate leaders on Thursday announced a compromise aimed at speeding up the process of considering legislation and nominations, one that will be reflected in a colloquy between Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Wasserman Schultz fights to keep her job Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief fears sequestration's return MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRyan seeks to put stamp on GOP in Trump era Trump and Ryan to speak by phone Bill would require nominees to release tax returns MORE (R-Ky.).

First, Reid said, the understanding would put an end to secret holds on legislation, and he thanked Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Finance: Puerto Rico bill clears panel | IRS chief vows to finish term | Bill would require nominees to release tax returns Top Dem: CIA officials thought spying on Senate ‘was flat out wrong’ The Trail 2016: Hell breaks loose MORE (D-Ore.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDefense bill renews fight over military sexual assault Reid knocks GOP over 'light' Senate schedule Overnight Tech: Facebook finds no bias but vows to change trending feature MORE (R-Iowa) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWasserman Schultz fights to keep her job The Hill's 12:30 Report Dem senator: Sexual assault case show 'troubling command culture' MORE (D-Mo.) for their work on this issue.

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"Senators will no longer be able to hide, and the light of day will shine harder on the Senate as a body," Reid said.

Reid said an agreement has also been reached to free up presidential nominees. He said Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Healthcare: House, Senate on collision course over Zika funding Ryan goes all-in on Puerto Rico Cruz's dad: Trump 'would be worse than Hillary Clinton' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAmerican technology leadership: We can't take it for granted GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is 'not appropriate' McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video MORE (R-Tenn.), both members of the leadership and the Rules Committee, reached an agreement that should let the Senate "get rid" of about a third of these nominations, which require the Senate's approval — thus making the nomination process easier going forward.

Reid also said these senators would work with Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP lawmaker: 'Republicans were wrong’ to block Garland Senate passes broad spending bill with .1B in Zika funds Senators unveil bill to overhaul apprenticeship programs MORE (R-Maine) on legislation to implement this agreement.

Third, he said senators agreed to forgo the forced reading of amendments in order to slow down the legislative process.

"It's wrong, and it's got to stop," Reid said.

Finally, Reid indicated that the two parties reached a compromise on cloture votes for motions to proceed, and the ability of the minority to post amendments.

Reid said that he and McConnell reached an agreement under which the Republicans agreed not to force the reading of amendments, and Democrats agreed not to "fill the amendment tree," which would give Republicans the ability to seek amendments.



McConnell took to the Senate floor after Reid spoke and said some votes would take place later Thursday evening to reflect the agreement. He indicated that these votes, which are expected around 7 or 8 p.m., could result in the approval of some, but not all, resolutions on Senate rules.


"We'll have the votes later, which will give the Senate a chance to go on record about some changes that have been agreed to, and some that are being proposed that are not agreed to," McConnell said.

Reid said the agreement means there will be no vote to alter Senate rules by a simple majority vote. "As part of this compromise, we agreed that I won't force a majority vote to fundamentally change the Senate — that is, the so-called constitutional option — and he won't either," Reid said.

— Josiah Ryan contributed to this story.

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