The Washington Post

Reid says filibuster reform deal is close

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that senate leaders are getting close to a deal on filibuster reform and the chamber will take up the issue soon, probably after taking up a bill to award $60 billion in aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

"Once we complete that vital legislation," Reid said of the Sandy bill, "the Senate will take action to make this institution that we all love — the United States Senate — work more effectively."

"I'm confident we'll reach an agreement that allows the Senate to operate more effectively in coming months," he said in remarks on the Senate floor.

Democrats have been vowing to reform the Senate's rules to make it harder for the minority party to bog down action by requiring nearly every bill to win 60 votes and clear a Republican filibuster. They believe the filibuster, once a legislative tool invoked only rarely, has become abused. Republicans say it is their only way to get a voice in a chamber where Democrats routinely prevent the GOP from offering amendments to key legislation.

Senate procedure calls for the chamber to adopt new rules at the start of each term. Democrats could take advantage of the moment to muscle through a change to filibuster rules on a simple 51-vote majority. Taking advantage of that so-called "nuclear option" would likely inject a whole new level of partisan rancor into the already divided Senate, however. Instead, Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been negotiating a possible bipartisan deal to tweak filibuster rules and allow the chamber to work more effectively.

Ordinarily, rule changes would have to take place right after the new Senate was sworn in, a ceremony which took place Jan. 3. However, the Senate agreed that it would hold open its first official legislative day, to allow more time to work on a deal. Reid indicated that the Senate will recess today, rather than adjourn, to keep open that legislative day.

"The Senate will recess today rather than adjourn to carry out conversation on this important legislation this month," Reid said.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debate Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Heading into the next debate...
Donald Trump returns to the Republican presidential debate stage Saturday night. Marco Rubio arrives as a sudden star, but fending off ferocious attacks from his rivals. Still glowing from his Iowa victory, Ted Cruz is trying to consolidate conservative support, while Ben Carson is struggling to avoid being typecast as the dead man walking.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote.
New Hampshire polling averages
Polling in New Hampshire has typically been volatile after Iowa's caucuses, but Bernie Sanders, from its neighboring state Vermont, has been holding a lead over Hillary Clinton.
55% 38%
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 6: GOP debate

on ABC News, in Manchester, N.H.

Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.