Re: As the Senate Votes Tonight

Posted: Nov 22, 2009 2:12 PM
Just to add my two cents to the post below by Townhall staff.  Make no mistake that last night's vote was a serious threat.  Every American that loves liberty -- and a strong US economy -- needs to make his or her voice heard.

But when considering the fact that, as noted below, "bills that get cloture votes are passed 98% of the time" -- keep in mind that this was simply a vote to begin debate, not to end it.  Most of the cloture votes we read about are votes to end debate.

Unless my memory as a former Senate aide fails me, most bills come to the floor by "unanimous consent" -- that is, no one raises an objection to opening debate on a bill, even if they plan to filibuster, i.e., raise an objection to ending debate and moving to a final vote.  Here, the Republicans did raise an objection even to beginning debate on the bill; that's a heartening sign that they intend to use every procedural maneuver at their disposal (and in the Senate, there are many).

Once there is final cloture on a  bill, that means the Senate can  move immediately to a final vote.  That didn't happen here (yet, at least), but because most cloture votes are to end debate, not begin it, that may be why such a high percentage of bills that survive cloture votes are passed. 

Tonight, some senators who presumably oppose the bill in its final form nonetheless voted to begin debate.  But at the end, it will be very hard for any senator to try to have it both ways, i.e., voting for final cloture (to let the bill go to a final vote) and then voting against the bill.  Voters will understand that a vote for final cloture (i.e., a vote to allow a vote) will be tantamount to voting for passage in a US Senate dominated so overwhelmingly by Democrats.

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