Senate approves modest filibuster reform bill


The US Senate passed a modest reform bill on the filibuster late Thursday night.


Toby Jorrin

The US Senate Thursday passed a modest bill to reform the filibuster.

The bill removes a procedural impediment reducing the number of filibusters and streamlining lawmaking in the upper house.

Reform passed 86-9 will bar senators from filibustering the opening debate of a bill.

Beforehand a lawmaker could filibuster any bill at any stage of its life in the Senate.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in return, Republicans were guaranteed two amendments to any bill.

Republicans have long complained that they are forced to filibuster after being blocked from amending bills.

The deal falls short of more radical options also proposed, including bringing back a rule that forces senators to remain talking on the Senate floor until they kill the bill, said Washington Post.

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Four Democrat senators and four Republicans spent weeks negotiating the new rule with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell signing on.

"The outcome of this hard earned compromise will be that there will be a greater degree of comity in the Senate which would allow us to achieve the legislative goals that all of us seek," Senator John McCain said on the Senate floor, reported AFP.

The filibuster has lately been blamed for gridlock in Congress.

Senate Republicans of the 111th Congress used the most filibusters in one session ever recorded: 100 in the first 11 months.