Senate bans secret holds, makes other rule changes
January 27th, 2011
07:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate bans secret holds, makes other rule changes

Washington (CNN) - The Senate voted Thursday to eliminate so-called "secret holds" that many senators complained caused unnecessary delays in approving bills and nominations and contributed to a general legislative backlog in the chamber.

The lopsided 92-4 vote came after weeks of wrangling over whether to overhaul filibuster rules and other tactics that are employed by senators to stall votes.

Under the new rules, a senator's name will be published in the Congressional Record two days after the senator places a hold.

The Senate also overwhelmingly supported a measure that will make it harder to force a bill to be read aloud in the Senate chamber, so long as senators have had reasonable time in advance to review the text.

Senate leaders announced an agreement earlier in the day to limit the number of administration appointees requiring confirmation by the full Senate. This too is aimed at easing the Senate's workload and lowering the number of nominations subject to holds and filibusters.

Efforts to make it easier to break filibusters failed. However, in a non-binding agreement announced by Senate Majority Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in the future, majority Democrats will try to allow more amendments by the minority Republicans and, in turn, Republicans will agree to fewer filibusters.

Reid and McConnell also agreed that any change to Senate rules would require 67 votes, not a simple majority.

Filed under: Congress • Senate
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Anything to make the Senate's job easier. Maybe we would be better off just sending them all home.

    January 27, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  2. they call me "tater salad"

    So basically nothing's changed............What a surprise!!!

    January 27, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Jetty

    Mitch McCanor can stand akimbo with help from Wolf Blitzer's SituationRoom and JohnKingUSA to denihe President Obama a second term, but the American Middle Class would be there to rescue the him in November 2012 and to free themselves once for good from the Insurance Companies and Special Interest Groups.

    January 27, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  4. Former Republican, now an Independent

    These are token changes. The current day fanatical republicans are not going to give up their right to use the three weapons they have used the most in the last 14 years. 1) Filibusters when they are the minority party 2) Quick votes without an adequate chance to read the bill when they are the majority party. 3) When all else fails they will use the nuclear option when the majority party. Majority Leader Bill Frist used this on the democrats a lot during his time, then his party expected no retribution when they lost the majority in 2008???

    January 27, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |