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Congress: Keep talking (or not)

“The Senate approved changes to the filibuster Thursday night, adopting modest limits on the partisan obstruction that has ground action in the chamber to a near standstill,” the L.A. Times writes. “But the deal reached between the Senate's two leaders — Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — fell far short of sweeping reforms sought by liberal senators and their allies. Left out was the requirement that senators who want to filibuster must remain on the Senate floor, talking the whole time, as Jimmy Stewart's character famously did in Frank Capra's movie ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.’”

The Washington Post: “The Senate approved a deal Thursday that will keep the chamber’s long-standing 60-vote threshold for halting a filibuster but streamline some of the chamber’s more cumbersome procedures. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), largely accepting the recommendations from a bipartisan team of senior senators, won broad bipartisan support for a package of reforms that will streamline operations but leave intact rules that give the minority more rights than any other legislative body in the world.”

The New York Times: “Senators will still be able to talk and talk and talk, though for not quite as long as they have grown accustomed to. Legislation will still be mired in mucky procedural delays, though there will be fewer of them to exploit. And there is a glimmer of hope that rank-and-file senators will actually be able to do what they were elected to do: shape legislation. Under new rules approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Thursday, Democrats and Republicans agreed to take some modest steps to limit the filibuster and help break the gridlock that has rendered the modern Congress ineffective and inefficient. The measures passed in two separate votes, one 78 to 16, the other 86 to 9.”

“Congressional Democrats, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, have reintroduced a bill that would ban assault weapons despite opposition in the Republican-led House and the reluctance of some Senate Democrats,” USA Today writes.