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The Path Through the Senate

If you are curious as to why the Senate debate is going to take so much longer compared to the House (which only took 10 days), Suzy Khimm over at The New Republic lays out an interesting overview of the Senatorial process. There are many more procedural hurdles to clear compared to the House, including:

1) An initial vote on “a motion to proceed” to a floor debate (needs 60 votes to break filibuster)
2) Periodic “points of order” if elements of the bill violate spending caps/requirements in last Spring’s budget resolution (needs 60 votes to move debate forward)
3) Amendments brought to the floor that are unknown to Senate majority (such amendments in the House required Pelosi’s pre-approval)
4) Allowing up to 6 amendments to be offered at any one time

Further delay tactics can be undertaken, including allowing Senators to read the entire bill aloud, though Senator Reid can combat such obstructionism with his own tactics like dominating the amendment process with his ‘preferential recognition’ and even through the controversial reconciliation process which only needs a majority vote. Khimm notes that ’round-the-clock’ filibusters could justify the reconciliation process to the public.

Read the full post here.

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