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The nagging fears of progressives everywhere may be about to come true. TPM is reporting that Sen. Reid is about to reach a deal with Sen. McConnell to gut the Merkley-Udall filibuster reform plan that had already been weakened.

Apparently, if the reports are correct, the deal would not only do away with the "talking filibuster," but would also do away with the requirement that the minority muster 41 actual votes to sustain a filibuster.

TPM says:

The deal, which is not yet final, makes very modest changes. It would permit the majority to bypass a filibuster on the motion to proceed to debate — if a group of senators on each side agree or if there’s a guarantee that both sides will get to offer amendments, the source said Wednesday evening.

It also includes an expedited process for some nominations and lowers the number of cloture motions required to go to conference with the House.

The emerging agreement reflects the plan that Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) put forth to avoid further-reaching filibuster reform that proponents wanted. But it tweaks some aspects to address Democrats’ concerns that it would empower the minority to add poison pills to legislation.

The final unresolved detail in the negotiations between the two leaders involves the amount of post-cloture time for nominees, the source said, describing it as a minor hurdle.

A Republican aide plugged in to the negotiations declined to confirm or deny these details, signaling only that the deal wasn’t yet final.

“Members are discussing,” the source said.

The emerging accord is a major step down from the Merkley-Udall “talking filibuster” plan which would have required a filibustering minority to occupy the floor and speak ceaselessly until one side gives in. It’s also a step down from Reid’s middle path proposal to McConnell, which would have shifted the burden from a majority seeking to advance legislation and nominations to a minority seeking to block them.

Reid is about to sell us down the river in order to keep the Republicans from getting the vapors.  Apparently upsetting the tea baggers, McConnell, and dinosaur Dems like Levin is more important than passing the legislation that the country vitally needs.
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