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Democrats Buy Time on Filibuster Changes

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“This is a starting point, not a finished soufflé,” one Senate Democratic aide said.

Democratic aides speculated that any final proposal would not include an end to filibusters on motions to proceed, nor would it include a minimum guarantee of amendments for the minority.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) may also offer his own proposal to reduce the number of votes needed to invoke cloture, and Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) may offer their proposal to eliminate secret holds as well.

An elongated legislative day is nothing new to the Senate, Historian Don Ritchie said. In 1979, then-Majority Leader Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) held a legislative day open for five weeks while he pushed a rule change barring filibusters that were mounted after cloture was invoked.

David M. Drucker contributed to this report.

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