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 ReidLawmakers eye early exit from Washington McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Reeling Dems look for new leader MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ky.).
First, Reid said, the understanding would put an end to secret holds on legislation, and he thanked Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenSenate passes college anti-Semitism bill Overnight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Senate Dems: Force Cabinet nominees to release tax returns MORE (D-Ore.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyDrug pricing debate going into hibernation GOP leaders host Trump's top deputies Key Republican wants details on Ohio State attacker MORE (R-Iowa) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillDefense bill tackles retaliation against military sex assault victims Red-state Dems face tough votes on Trump picks Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump MORE (D-Mo.) for their work on this issue.
Reid said an agreement has also been reached to free up presidential nominees. He said Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerOvernight Finance: Trump takes victory lap at Carrier plant | House passes 'too big to fail' revamp | Trump econ team takes shape Anti-Defamation League: Ellison's past remarks about Israel 'disqualifying' Dems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderKey Republicans ask Trump to keep on NIH director McConnell tees up medical cures bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress 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 CollinsSenators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Cornyn: ‘Virtual certainty’ Sessions and Price will be confirmed Trump's wrong to pick Bannon or Sessions for anything 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.