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Greenwald: What happened to 60 vote requirement in Senate?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, November 09, 2007

I see self-proclaimed Constitutional expert Glenn Greenwald is as clueless as one of our resident "experts" on this matter.
The so-called "60-vote requirement" applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President, and it is what the media uses to depict the GOP filibuster as something normal and benign. There obviously is no "60-vote requirement" when it comes to having the Senate comply with the President's demands, as the 53-vote confirmation of Michael Mukasey amply demonstrates. But as Mukasey is sworn in as the highest law enforcement officer in America, the Democrats want you to know that they most certainly did stand firm and "registered their displeasure."
Of course. Or it could have something to do with regular legislative business in the Senate requiring 60 votes and judiciary committee nominations, by agreement, not requiring them. How soon we forget all the talk about the "nuclear option", the "gang of 14" and the difference between a judicial filibuster and a legislative one.

The short version is the Constitution gives the Senate the power to make its own rules. Under Rule 22 either by unanimous agreement (aka "unanimous consent") or at least 60 votes on a motion to invoke cloture, the Senate must end debate before it can vote on anything to do with legislation. Got that? Legislative filibusters have a long tradition and Rule 22 upholds that Senate tradition.

However a different agreement for judiciary committee nominations has been in place since the 109th Congress, and still applies to any nomination coming from that committee. That agreement was forged by a group known as the "Gang of 14" who have, in effect, agreed that Rule 22 for judiciary committee nominations won't apply by refusing to become party to filibusters against nominees. In the closely divided Senate, the refusal of 7 Senators on each side to participate in judicial filibusters (which have been described by many as unconstitutional anyway) has effectively nullified the use of the filibuster there. Thus there is no 60 vote requirement for a cloture since there is no cloture vote. Consequently all judiciary committee nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority.

Of course, if GG were the Constitutional scholar he claims to be, he'd already have known that and would probably have been popping off about something else today for which he's equally as ill-informed.
 
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Brilliant constitutional analysis there, McQ. I guess if "many" people say something that’s tantamount to a supreme court ruling on the subject. And the actions of the "Gang of 7" aren’t a constitutional issue, they’re a political issue and even when they said that they wouldn’t filibuster nominees, they reserve the option for "extraordinary circumstances". Beyond that, in case you hadn’t noticed, Democrats picked up a whole mess of GOP seats last year, so they can afford to lose 7 senators if they really wanted to filibuster something.

So Greenwald is an idiot because he attributes what happened to the notoriously gun-shy Democratic leadership in the Senate and fails to take account of a group of senators who don’t even have enough collective votes to do anything and haven’t been politically relevant since 2006? Come again?
 
Written By: badger
URL: http://
Whiff.

Missed it completely, didn’t you Badger?

Let me try again:
The short version is the Constitution gives the Senate the power to make its own rules.
Now is there anything in that sentence you don’t understand?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What I got is that he’s mostly incensed that the Republicans are using the filibuster threat in the exact same way that the Dems used it in the last Congress. His frustration and agony are delicious.

He knows perfectly well about the Senate rule requiring an end to debate. He’s just mad that Democrat candidates won’t risk their presidential aspirations to filibuster the appointment of Bush’s AG apppointee.

Because, you know...TORTURE!!!1! ...and stuff.

I’ve been away awhile. Is Mona calling herself "badger" now? Because that was damn quick.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
What I got is that he’s mostly incensed that the Republicans are using the filibuster threat in the exact same way that the Dems used it in the last Congress. His frustration and agony are delicious.
Agreed, but his understanding of why that and not this (i.e. the AG’s vote) are just plain wrong.

I have no problem with him fretting and fussing about the inept Democratic leadership. Go for it ... because I agree they’re inept. But to pretend that the 60 vote rule applies to nominees passed out from the judiciary committee, given the 109th Congress, Gang of 14 and "nuclear option" which was covered extensively in the blogosphere is just plain ignorant.
I’ve been away awhile. Is Mona calling herself "badger" now?
Heh ...

Uh, no, badger’s been here before.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Thanks for putting up this post. I did one earlier, for which I’ve since issued a correction, based on Greenwald’s reaction to the vote. He hasn’t updated his yet and so far I haven’t seen any of his commenters bring it up.
 
Written By: Bilby
URL: http://bilbys.blogspot.com
What I got is that he’s mostly incensed that the Republicans are using the filibuster threat in the exact same way that the Dems used it in the last Congress
Heh....he’s not the only one. That groups includes Harry Reied also, which makes me laugh.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Hmmm. Now I’m confused. A commenter at Unqualified Offerings says the "gang of 14" rule only applies to judicial nominees.
 
Written By: Bilby
URL: http://bilbys.blogspot.com
And where do "judicial nominees" come from?

The Judiciary committee. And where did the AG’s nomination come from? Same committee.

Now you can split hairs about whether or not it was just judicial nominees, but it would seem to me that the vote itself seems to validate the fact that it applies to all nominees passed out of the judicary committee.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
it would seem to me that the vote itself seems to validate the fact that it applies to all nominees passed out of the judicary committee.

You’re right. There was no cloture vote to cut off debate which is where filibustering would occur.
 
Written By: Bilby
URL: http://bilbys.blogspot.com
Well, regardless of whether or not I get your point regarding the constitutional interpretation of judicial filibusters (you were challenging Greenwald as a constitutional scholar, after all, not as a political observer) you never answered my question: Why should anyone care about the Gang of 14? There are now 51 Democrats in the senate (including Lieberman) and 7 Democratic "Gang" members (including Lieberman). Since only 40 votes are needed for a filibuster (even judicial ones), there are no longer enough members in the "Gang of 14" to make a difference. To my knowledge, none of the freshman Democrats have expressed any interest in the organization and two of the GOP members aren’t even in the Senate anymore. So what on earth makes you so sure that it’s the Gang of 14 that’s holding this up? Why can’t this be attributed to the fact that congressional Democrats consistently avoid playing hardball when it comes to national security issues and that Harry Reid just decided to fold on the whole matter, letting his members thunder about how awful Mukasey was while avoiding a real fight on the subject? Why would someone be "ill-informed" if they believed that?

/And I’m not Mona, whatever difference that makes.

 
Written By: badger
URL: http://
/And I’m not Mona, whatever difference that makes.
No offense - I didn’t think you were. In the past, within 30 seconds of a post critical of Glenn Greenwald, his homonculus Mona would appear to defend him from charges of liberalism.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Why should anyone care about the Gang of 14? There are now 51 Democrats in the senate (including Lieberman) and 7 Democratic "Gang" members (including Lieberman).
Because the agreement not to filibuster (reached by the Gang of 14) means that a simple majority is all that is necessary to approve or defeat a nomination. In case you haven’t noticed, that benefits the Democrats. By that agreement, there is no requirement for a cloture vote. Keep the agreement in place, and the Democrats can defeat nominees with out a 60 vote requirement. Throw it out and they put a 60 vote requirement on themselves just to move it to the floor for a vote. That means they would still need 9 Republicans if all the Dems vote for it. And 7 Dems (the Dem side of the Gang of 14) have said they won’t. So that means Dems would need a minimum of 16 Republicans.

How smart would that be?

So to whose benefit is it to keep the "Gang of 14" agreement concerning nominees coming out of the judiciary committee? The Democrats.

That’s why it is still in effect.

This had nothing to do with 60 vote requirement for legislative cloture or any of the other nonsense Greenwald was spouting. This had to do with Dems passing on a Bush nominee for AG that the extreme left didn’t want and it has pissed them off. What’s new?

The fact is, under the rules in place, the party which has a majority and could have used it to defeat a nomination, couldn’t or didn’t do so when it was appropriate and acceptable to do so.

But, had they broken the agreement and used the filibuster, knowing full well they have a very good chance of landing a Democrat in the White House come ’08 and retaining the Congress, they know they’d run the chance of being challenged on every judicial nominee the new president would ever nominate.
Why would someone be "ill-informed" if they believed that?
Because it ignores what has been laid out here and instead pretends that the judicial process, the "advise and consent" side, is precisely the same as the legislative process in the Senate. It isn’t.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Heh, others are linking to the Greenwald piece and accepting it at face value.
 
Written By: Bilby
URL: http://bilbys.blogspot.com
Abuse of the filibuster should not be turned into a "60 vote rule." It’s disgusting that the Senate seems to be making filibustering standard operating procedure. It’s certainly not required by the rules. And a claim that regular Senate legislative business requires 60 votes is simply wrong. Regular legislative business does not require a filibuster.

And yes, Jeff, it was the Democrats who really started this level of abuse of the filibuster.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb, the eternal idiot, is trying to switch the argument again.

No one is claiming a filibuster is required. There is no rule that mandates a senator must vote against ending debate. NO ONE HAS EVER MADE THIS CLAIM (except for Erb).

The rule is that it takes 60 "yea" votes to end debate.

Even if no group of senators ever voted against ending debate again and the use of the filibuster became ancient history, that would not mean that the RULE that 60 senators must agree to end debate doesn’t exist.

I repeat — NO ONE is claiming a filibuster is required. A vote for cloture is required when dealing with legislation with 60 votes being necessary for cloture.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG, give it up. You know that I’ve not written anything incorrect. Recently the filibuster has been abused by both parties. That isn’t necessary, and it isn’t good. It isn’t something that’s simply ’going by the rules,’ it’s a choice made by political parties to use the filibuster as a standard operating procedure. Do you think that’s a good idea? If so, then we can discuss that. If not, then cool.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Good lord, McQ. Let’s count the ways in which this post is factually erroneous.

1) As your own "Gang of 14" link makes abundantly clear, the Gang of 14 agreement only applied to the 109th Congress. It says so right in the text of the agreement.

2) By it’s own terms, that agreement only applied to judicial nominations. That’s why it was called "MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS."

3) It wasn’t a rule change; it was just a gentlemen’s agreement among the 14 signatories, who, by virtue of their numbers, had the power to prevent both filibusters and rule changes (i.e. the nuclear option). They just pledged to personally not filibuster. That’s all. Senate rules were not amended in any way.

4) By the terms of the agreement, filibusters were still allowed under "extraordinary circumstances" (which were to be determined by each signatory individually).

5) Rule 22 makes no distinction between nominations and legislation. It applies to any "matter pending before the Senate."

6) Cloture is not always necessary! You are still completely wrong about this. Go read the rules. A vote on anything can take place solely on a motion for consideration. Cloture is merely a procedural method for cutting through delaying tactics (such as endless debate or constant roll call motions). In other words, cloture is only necessary when one side is intent on preventing a straight up vote. Read up if you want.

You seem to be under the impression that cloture votes are always required for legislation, but not for nominations. That’s just not true. Cloture votes are never necessary. And Rule 22 makes no distinction between nominations and legislation. Cloture is necessary in either context only when one side signals an intent to oppose a straight up vote by using various stalling tactics (i.e. filibustering).
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
You know that I’ve not written anything incorrect.
Let’s see...

Erb: "It’s certainly not required by the rules."

JWG: "No one is claiming a filibuster is required."

1) Perhaps you can provide a quote to demonstrate who has made the argument that a filibuster is required by Senate rules?

2) Perhaps you can provide a passage from the Senate rules that explains how debate can end with less than 60 votes?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
LOL! JWG, you’re not even disagreeing with me, you’re essentially arguing that I’m wrong to say anyone disagreed with me. OK, maybe nobody has. Cool. I’m glad if everyone agrees with me. Perhaps you should tackle Anonymous Liberal’s points.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
you’re essentially arguing that I’m wrong to say anyone disagreed with me.
I’ve been arguing the whole time that you keep changing the claim that "at least 60 Senators MUST agree to end debate" to "a filibuster is not required."

It is YOU who keeps arguing that McQ et. al. are wrong, and for evidence you keep talking about the filibuster.

McQ’s point is 100% true. It is a Senate rule that debate must end. There are only TWO ways to make that happen:

1) unanimous consent
2) 3/5 majority

They are right there in the rules.

AL might want to update his rule book to the version that explains "Time Agreements."

If either AL or Erb cannot quote a rule that allows an end to debate with fewer than 60 senators giving permission, then they cannot claim McQ et. al. are wrong.

Again, no legislation moves forward in the Senate without at least 60 senators agreeing to move it forward.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Cloture is not always necessary! You are still completely wrong about this.
McQ is not arguing that cloture is always necessary.

You are using an Erb tactic by changing the original claim.

Let’s make it as simple as possible —

True or False:
"According to Senate rules, the permission of at least 60 senators is necessary to end debate on legislative action."

True or False:
"According to Senate rules, no legislation (with a few exceptions) can make it out of the Senate without first ending debate."
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
1) As your own "Gang of 14" link makes abundantly clear, the Gang of 14 agreement only applied to the 109th Congress. It says so right in the text of the agreement.
The fact that a vote for cloture hasn’t been called for any nominees out of the judiciary committee, to include the AG, as well as the fact that the vote for such nominees has been on simple majorities, belies your assertion.
2) By it’s own terms, that agreement only applied to judicial nominations. That’s why it was called "MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS."
Again, the proof is in the pudding. No cloture requirements for any nominees coming out of the judiciary committee. Now, as hard as it is for me to say it, that’s smart politics on the part of the Dems. You, however, can’t seem to see the forest for the trees.
3) It wasn’t a rule change; it was just a gentlemen’s agreement among the 14 signatories, who, by virtue of their numbers, had the power to prevent both filibusters and rule changes (i.e. the nuclear option). They just pledged to personally not filibuster. That’s all. Senate rules were not amended in any way.
No one said it was a rule change. I said the the result of the "agreement" was to "nullify" the effect of Rule 22. Or did you miss that?
5) Rule 22 makes no distinction between nominations and legislation. It applies to any "matter pending before the Senate."
No one claimed it did. What I said was legislative filibusters had a long tradition in the Senate. And those concerning nominations don’t. In fact, many see such an act as unconstitutional. Recognizing that the Gang of 14 "agreed" to thwart filibusters concerning nominations and "nullify" the effect of Rule 22.
6) Cloture is not always necessary! You are still completely wrong about this. Go read the rules. A vote on anything can take place solely on a motion for consideration. Cloture is merely a procedural method for cutting through delaying tactics (such as endless debate or constant roll call motions). In other words, cloture is only necessary when one side is intent on preventing a straight up vote. Read up if you want.
No one said cloture was always necessary. Again, take the time to read the post:
Under Rule 22 either by unanimous agreement (aka "unanimous consent") or at least 60 votes on a motion to invoke cloture, the Senate must end debate before it can vote on anything to do with legislation.
Now, where in that statement do you see the claim or implication that a cloture vote is always necessary? Obviously the word "either" points to two ways, huh?
You seem to be under the impression that cloture votes are always required for legislation, but not for nominations.
The only one under that impression seems to be you, and, as usual, it’s a function of your reading ability, or lack thereof. That’s not my problem. You might want to take a deep breath, settle down and reread the post first before popping off again.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The fact that a vote for cloture hasn’t been called for any nominees out of the judiciary committee, to include the AG, as well as the fact that the vote for such nominees has been on simple majorities, belies your assertion.
Umm. No. The fact that no cloture vote has been called just means that none has been necessary because no one has threatened to filibuster. And that makes sense given that the Democrats now control the Senate and the judiciary committee. They can just kill the nominees they don’t like in committee or vote them down with a straight vote. They don’t need to filibuster.

Mukasey was an unusual situation in that he had enough Democratic votes to get out of committee and confirmed, but not enough to survive a filibuster, had one been mounted. But none was. Hence, no need for cloture and he was confirmed with a simple majority vote.

None of this has anything to do with the Gang of 14 agreement, which could not be more irrelevant to this situation. McQ, stop digging.

As for JWG’s clever True/False test:
True or False:
"According to Senate rules, the permission of at least 60 senators is necessary to end debate on legislative action."

True or False:
"According to Senate rules, no legislation (with a few exceptions) can make it out of the Senate without first ending debate."
The answer to both is true, but they don’t lead to the conclusion you think they do. And that’s for the simple reason that there is often no need to "end debate." You only need to end debate *if* Senators are insisting on debating. A vote can be had pursuant to a simple motion for consideration, which requires only a majority. The problem is that there are many ways to stall and derail such an action, either through endless debate or endless motion-making. So typically the Senate proceeds to a vote through unanimous consent. If someone wants to filibuster, they can object to the unanimous consent and the next step is to seek cloture.

The bottomline, though, is that the 60-vote cloture procedure is only needed when the threat of filibuster is invoked, which means that—at least until this Congress—it was the exception, not the rule. As Mukasey’s confirmation proved, it is simply not the case that the Senate has a de facto 60-vote requirement. That’s only true if the minority decides to filibuster everything, as this Republican minority has.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Again, no legislation moves forward in the Senate without at least 60 senators agreeing to move it forward.
The better way to phrase this would be: no legislation moves forward if 40 senators are determined to block it. Historically, though, lots of legislation has moved through the Senate with less than 60 votes of support. There’s a big difference between opposing legislation (i.e. not supporting it) and actively trying to block it. You don’t need 60 votes in support. You just need 60 who are not willing to actively block the legislation. In this congress, the Republican minority has actively blocked (i.e. threatened to filibuster) just about everything. That is not the norm.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
The fact that no cloture vote has been called just means that none has been necessary because no one has threatened to filibuster.
Uh, no. If you are correct, then there is a record of unanimous consent to move it to the floor. Otherwise, per your assertion, there must be a vote for cloture (since you claim Rule 22 is in effect).
Mukasey was an unusual situation in that he had enough Democratic votes to get out of committee and confirmed, but not enough to survive a filibuster, had one been mounted. But none was. Hence, no need for cloture and he was confirmed with a simple majority vote.
Again, no. If Rule 22 is in effect, as you claim, it requires either unanimous consent or a vote for cloture. There is no requirement for a cloture vote if unanimous consent is given. But, per the rule, one of the two are required. So, if Rule 22 is being applied, it should be pretty easy to produce the unanimous consent ruling. That would come right after the clerk asks, "Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?", which the clerk is required to ask before anything is moved to the floor for a final vote.

Note the rule:
Notwithstanding the provisions of rule II or rule IV or any other rule of the Senate, at any time a motion signed by sixteen Senators, to bring to a close the debate upon any measure, motion, other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, is presented to the Senate, the Presiding Officer, or clerk at the direction of the Presiding Officer, shall at once state the motion to the Senate, and one hour after the Senate meets on the following calendar day but one, he shall lay the motion before the Senate and direct that the clerk call the roll, and upon the ascertainment that a quorum is present, the Presiding Officer shall, without debate, submit to the Senate by a yea-and-nay vote the question:

"Is it the sense of the Senate that the debate shall be brought to a close?" And if that question shall be decided in the affirmative by three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn — except on a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules, in which case the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting — then said measure, motion, or other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business, shall be the unfinished business to the exclusion of all other business until disposed of.
Seems pretty straight forward to me. "At any time...", "to bring to close the debate ..." and thus move it to the floor for a final vote ("until disposed of").

What does "any time" mean to you when used in conjunction with the words "any measure, motion, other matter pending before the Senate, or the unfinished business...?" And note, there is only one exception in the rule and this wouldn’t fit the rule.

So most reasonable people would agree it means all business brought before the Senate requires debate closure to be voted on (or agreed upon unanimously) before it can move forward.

Absent unanimous consent, a vote for cloture requires 60 votes in the affirmative (as an aside, the 60 vote threshold was agreed upon in 1975).

So, was that procedure, Rule 22, followed in this case? If it was and no cloture vote was taken, then unanimous consent to do so must have been given at some point to move it forward. If it was, that will be recorded. I assume you can produce the motion and agreement for unanimous consent?
None of this has anything to do with the Gang of 14 agreement, which could not be more irrelevant to this situation. McQ, stop digging.
Then produce the unanimous consent decree. If you can’t, the only other reasonable explanation is that both sides have agreed to maintain the Gang of 14 agreement, whether expired or not, at least to this point. If not, where’s the vote or the unanimous consent agreement to move it to the floor for a final vote?
The better way to phrase this would be: no legislation moves forward if 40 senators are determined to block it.
You can parse it any way you want to, which seems to be one of your talents, but the bottom line is cloture requires 60 votes. Period.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So most reasonable people would agree it means all business brought before the Senate requires debate closure to be voted on (or agreed upon unanimously) before it can move forward.
No, they wouldn’t, because it’s not true. The mechanism laid out in Rule 22 isn’t necessary in all situations. It’s a way of affirmatively bringing debate to a close. But if no one is insisting on continuing debating, it is not necessary. Rule 22 does NOT need to be invoked every time you want to have a vote on legislation. Ask anyone in the Senate.
Then produce the unanimous consent decree. If you can’t, the only other reasonable explanation is that both sides have agreed to maintain the Gang of 14 agreement, whether expired or not, at least to this point. If not, where’s the vote or the unanimous consent agreement to move it to the floor for a final vote?
You don’t need one. There are a number of ways to get something to a vote. A simple motion for consideration will suffice if no one is intent on stalling the vote. In this case, there’s seems to have been an agreement between the majority and minority leader to limit debate to 4 hours, at which point a vote was held. One think I can say with absolute certainly, though, is that the Gang of 14 agreement had absolutely nothing to do with anything. It’s not in effect and its terms aren’t at all relevant to this. You couldn’t be more wrong about that.

 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
The mechanism laid out in Rule 22 isn’t necessary in all situations.
So now you’re claiming Rule 22 isn’t in effect? Wasn’t it you that said:
5) Rule 22 makes no distinction between nominations and legislation. It applies to any "matter pending before the Senate."
I wish you’d make up your mind. I thought I was the one arguing that Rule 22 had been nullified by the agreement of the gang of 14. Now you are doing it.
A simple motion for consideration will suffice if no one is intent on stalling the vote.
Sounds like the agreement forged by the Gang of 14, doesn’t it?
In this case, there’s seems to have been an agreement between the majority and minority leader to limit debate to 4 hours, at which point a vote was held.
Which would mean your assertion that Rule 22 was in effect (see "5" above) wasn’t true (thus the filibuster was off the table) and that perhaps the agreement forged by the gang of 14 might still be in effect, even if only unofficially.

Lord, you’ve doubled back on yourself. Do us all a favor and please make it clear in future replies which side of the argument you’re taking for that particular reply, ok?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ is not arguing that cloture is always necessary.
If he agrees with me on this, then cool. So far, you’ve not pointed to anything I’ve said which is wrong, you just assert that it’s wrong for me to think other people are arguing differently. If so, then there isn’t a disagreement and that’s great!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So far, you’ve not pointed to anything I’ve said which is wrong
You keep saying things like, "And a claim that regular Senate legislative business requires 60 votes is simply wrong."

Your statement *IS* wrong when taken into context with all the other threads and comments in which McQ’s full argument has been addressed. The full claim is that no legislation moves through the Senate without at least 60 senators agreeing to end debate. You have consistently said that claim is wrong.
You only need to end debate *if* Senators are insisting on debating.
If they don’t want debate, then they get unanimous consent beforehand as seen by the rules link:
These characteristics of Senate rules make the Senate’s daily floor schedule potentially unpredictable unless all Senators agree by unanimous consent to accept limits on their right to debate and offer non-germane amendments to a bill.
Agreeing not to debate is putting an end to debate.

At this point we are just arguing for the sake of arguing. I am satisfied that AL and Erb have accepted the original claim as accurate. No legislation moves through the Senate without the agreement of at least 60 senators.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Your statement *IS* wrong when taken into context
No it’s not. It’s either correct or incorrect on its own terms. So can I assume you agree that I’m right that the filibuster is not something required as standard operating procedure on most legislation, and that both the Democrats and Republicans have been abusing the filibuster in recent years? Or are you one who likes the change to make filibusters so common because it makes it less likely the Senate will act?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I like the filibuster since I generally think most legislation moving through Congress is unnecessary.

However, I have never disagreed that "the filibuster is not something required as standard operating procedure on most legislation." Neither has anyone else. I don’t know why you keep acting like it is an important point to make about the rules.

60 or more senators could agree to move all legislation forward from now till the end of the Earth.

That wouldn’t change the fact that the current rules require 60 or more to agree to do it. But there is no rule saying some of them must not agree.
It’s either correct or incorrect on its own terms.
The statement, "regular Senate legislative business requires 60 votes," is only wrong if you ignore the possibility of unanimous consent beforehand avoiding a cloture motion (which is part of McQ’s complete argument). Since that is not your problem with the statement, your claim that it is an incorrect statement is false.

Saying that 60 senators must agree to end debate is not the same as arguing that a filibuster is required. No senator is ever required to filibuster. If no senator chooses to filibuster, then more than 60 senators have agreed to push the legislation to the next step. If one or more senators choose to filibuster, then at least 60 senators are needed to push the legislation to the next step. Either way, 60 senators were required by the rules to agree to push the legislation to the next step since in the Senate an agreement to end debate is always necessary.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
No senator is ever required to filibuster. If no senator chooses to filibuster, then more than 60 senators have agreed to push the legislation to the next step. If one or more senators choose to filibuster, then at least 60 senators are needed to push the legislation to the next step. Either way, 60 senators were required by the rules to agree to push the legislation to the next step since in the Senate an agreement to end debate is always necessary.
Almost. If no one chooses to filibuster, then they will by definition move on to the next step.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If no one chooses to filibuster
Then they will have unanimously agreed not to debate beforehand (one of the RULES) — which means at least 60 senators agreed to end debate on that piece of legislation (since in the real world 100>60).

Unless you can point to some method in which FEWER than 3/5 of the senators can allow legislation to move through the Senate, then you have proved my point. Thank you.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG: It’s funny how you’ll dance and weave so obviously just in order to avoid admitting I was right about something. Tell me, what happens if there are no more speakers to debate, no agreement before hand not to debate, no more amendments, and no objection to a motion to consider a bill brought to the floor?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Tell me, what happens if...
You mean what happens when all 100 senators agree to end debate on a piece of legislation? Do the math.
you’ll dance and weave so obviously
When are you going to finally "point to some method in which FEWER than 3/5 of the senators can allow legislation to move through the Senate"?

Once you do that we can discuss you being right.

Until then, it is 100% correct to state that at least 60 senators are required by the rules to agree to push legislation to the next step, or else it can never become a law.

We’re done here until you provide the evidence. A quote directly from the rules would be acceptable (which has been linked several times).

Here are a few to get you started (emphasis mine):
Just as the right of extended debate encourages Senate committee and party leaders to bring up bills for consideration by unanimous consent, the right to debate combined with the right to offer non-germane amendments encourages the same leaders to seek unanimous consent agreements limiting or foreclosing the exercise of these rights while a bill is being considered. Without such an agreement, the bill could be debated for as long as Senators wish — as could each amendment, whether germane or not — unless the Senate votes to table it. These are the essential conditions under which the Senate considers a bill if it adheres to its standing rules.

It is precisely to avoid these conditions that the Senate often debates, amends, and passes bills under very different sets of parliamentary ground rules — ground rules that are far more restrictive but that require unanimous consent to be imposed. One of the frequent purposes of these unanimous consent agreements is to limit the time available for debate, and thereby ensure that there will be no filibuster. Complex unanimous consent agreements of this special kind are frequently called “time agreements.”

In addition, before taking up a bill, or after the Senate has begun debating it, Senators often reach unanimous consent agreements to govern consideration of individual amendments that have been or will be offered. Less often today, the Senate reaches an encompassing agreement, limiting debate on a bill and all amendments to it, before or at the time the bill is called up for floor action.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
LOL! You haven’t pointed to anything I’ve said that you disagree with! Face it, McQ overstated his claim back in a post months ago, and you can’t let go of some weird kind of desire not to admit the obvious. You’re a hoot!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
McQ overstated his claim
Quote the rule, Erb.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://

 
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