The dream of filibuster reform is over — for now. Today leaders of the Senate reached a deal that addresses many aspects of the filibuster maneuver — whereby senators often delay and kill bills they dislike — without reforming the filibuster itself. With the deal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has withdrawn his threat to trigger the "nuclear option," with which he would have risked the rebuke of his opponent, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and further turmoil in the perennially logjammed Senate. Instead, Reid settled on a list of procedural reforms, such as requiring those who wish to mount a filibuster to actually show up on the Senate floor, and limiting the abuse of quorum calls, which can be used to delay a bill's movement.
Still, the winner of today's agreement, if there is one, is unclear. According to the liberal site Talking Points Memo, Reid won many of the reforms that he was seeking — which should placate some of his frustrations with the Senate body — but it's difficult to say whether a bunch of small fixes will add up to a more functional Senate. McConnell extracted a few concessions — including the ability of his party to add two amendments to any bill — but otherwise played defense to Reid.