Read The McCain-Levin Bipartisan Filibuster Reform Plan

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) on Friday unveiled a bipartisan proposal to change filibuster rules, a scaled back plan to prevent Democrats from using the so-called constitutional option to weaken the minority’s power.

The proposal (PDF) would permit the majority leader to bypass motions to begin debate on legislation and in return guarantee the minority party two amendments. It would also increase the number of judicial nominations that can be expedited.

The plan is the product of bipartisan negotiations between a number of senators to achieve a resolution that satisfies Democrats’ concerns with the minority’s abuse of the filibuster but avoid the use what Republicans dub the “nuclear option” to change the rules with 51 votes early next Congress.

Meanwhile, Democratic champions of robust filibuster reform say they have the requisite 51 votes.


Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.