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 ReidIf Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellAmericans brimming with optimism on the economy McCain hopes Americans can be confident GOP-controlled Congress can investigate president GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps MORE (R-Ky.).
First, Reid said, the understanding would put an end to secret holds on legislation, and he thanked Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenSenate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order DNI confirmation hearing expected on Senate return Senate confirms Mnuchin as Treasury secretary MORE (D-Ore.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyFlynn told FBI he didn't talk sanctions with Russian envoy: report Gorsuch hearing date set for March 20 Judiciary Committee wants briefing, documents on Flynn resignation MORE (R-Iowa) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillDem senator: I may face 2018 primary from Tea Party-esque progressives Dems ask for hearings on Russian attempts to attack election infrastructure House bill would prevent Trump from lifting Russian sanctions 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 Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers Democrats declare victory after Puzder bows out MORE (D-N.Y.) and Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP's ObamaCare talking points leave many questions unanswered Overnight Regulation: Trump's new Labor pick | Trump undoes Obama coal mining rule Trump unveils new pick to head Labor Department 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 CollinsPruitt sworn in as EPA chief Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties EPA breaks Twitter silence to congratulate new head 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.