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senate Bill S. Res. 355

Changing Senate Rules to Shorten Debate for Mid-Level Judicial & Executive Branch Nominees

Argument in favor

The Senate shouldn’t spend 30 hours debating the nomination of a district court judge or the Under Secretary of Transportation like it does a Supreme Court justice or Cabinet official. It makes sense to shorten debate for such nominees to eight or two hours, depending on the position.

Argument opposed

The Senate’s rules are in place to ensure that it remains the world’s most deliberative body, and shortening the amount of debate for judicial and executive nominees would irrevocably alter that. While there may have been bipartisan agreement on this issue four years ago, there isn’t anymore.

What is Senate Bill S. Res. 355?

This resolution would change Senate rules to limit post-cloture debate for certain judicial and executive branch nominees. Debate would be limited to eight hours for mid-level executive and judicial nominees, like a circuit court judge. It would also limit post-cloture debate to two hours for nominees to district court judgeships. Nominees to the Supreme Court and Cabinet would still face the standard 30 hours of post-cloture debate.


Nominees to circuit or district courts, or mid-level executive branch posts; and the Senate.

Cost of Senate Bill S. Res. 355

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) proposed this variation on a rule enacted by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to shorten the amount of time the Senate spends debating mid-level judicial and executive nominations. He explained his rationale on “The Hugh Hewitt Show”:

“The Senate can only do one thing at a time. So if you’ve got 30 hours of debate on a nominee that’s going to pass, because when they come out of committee, we have the votes to pass them. They will pass. If you clog it up with 30 hours of debate for that person, that means you can’t debate other tax reform, you can’t move on legislation, you can’t work on regulatory issues, you can’t work on anything else, because you’re clogged up on that one. There was a bipartisan agreement on a rule very similar to this in 2013 when Harry Reid was there, to be able to work the process through, I’m invoking that to see if we can get 60 votes on it.”

This legislation has the support of one cosponsor, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).


Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: U.S. Senate / Public Domain)

Official Title

A resolution improving procedures for the consideration of nominations in the Senate.

simple resolution Progress

  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Rules and Administration
    IntroducedDecember 7th, 2017
    Do your Job. Get Our work Done. Do it Quickly.
    Like (2)
    Why not put the words Can Debate for UP TO but NO MORE than 15 to 30 hours as what is needed for certain topics..!! USE Common Sense on what needs more discussion... COMMON SENSE...It ain't so common any more.