Surprise! Secret Holds Not Banned

By: Monday May 16, 2011 8:10 am

If you’re like me, you believed that the Senate rules reform effort devolved into nothingness. Only a few things were accomplished on the periphery: • Senators could not force the reading of amendments as long as they were public for 72 hours. This almost never happened anyway. • Senate confirmations for hundreds of appointees would [...]

Senate Rules Reform Reaches Inevitable, Unsatisfying Conclusion

By: Thursday January 27, 2011 2:58 pm

The Senate passed two rules reforms and expects to pass a third, while more far-reaching reforms seemed destined to fail. Secret holds were banned by a vote of 92-4. This measure would allow Senators to retain the ability to place a hold on any nomination, legislation, amendment or motion to proceed, requiring a cloture vote [...]

Silly Agreement on Senate Rules Finalized

By: Thursday January 27, 2011 9:47 am

Harry Reid just spoke on the Senate floor with the final deal on rules changes in the 112th Congress. David Waldman gave an outline of this earlier this morning, but now we know precisely what will get a vote, and what will pass, under the agreement. • Eliminating secret holds: This includes allowing Senators to [...]

The Complete Failure of Senate Rules Reform

By: Wednesday January 26, 2011 7:46 am

The most consequential action in Washington happened just a bit before the State of the Union last night. On the Senate floor, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall and Tom Harkin talked about their project to reform Senate rules. And talked. And talked a little more. They talked more than they expected, in fact, because they were [...]

Senate Rules Changes: Democrats Still Live in Perpetual Fear

By: Monday January 24, 2011 10:13 am

Sam Stein brings us the latest on the rules reform negotiations in the Senate. Clearly, the plan is to find changes that can net 67 votes, and not shake up the basic structure of the broken Senate: In the past few days and weeks, Senate Rules Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and ranking Republican Lamar [...]

Why the McConnell Deal on Nominees?

By: Tuesday June 22, 2010 10:28 am

Just as Claire McCaskill gathers enough signatures to actually change Senate rules on secret holds, along comes Mitch McConnell with an olive branch. In addition to moving a few district court nominees last night, McConnell wants to clear “a package of as many as 60 nominees… almost half of the more than 130 pending nominations.” [...]

Claire McCaskill Takes Aim At Secret Holds

By: Wednesday April 21, 2010 9:20 am

One of the most depressing parts of Senate rules reform is that not only are the current rules maddening and insufficient, but Senators don’t even follow them most of the time. Sen. Claire McCaskill yesterday took a first step to ending Republican obstructionism by bringing it out of the shadows. She reminded her colleagues that [...]

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