How a bill becomes law, according to Sheldon Whitehouse


sign/voting site montclairSen. Sheldon Whitehouse describes a possible path forward for the voting rights. It ain’t over yet:

Here’s the deal. Once Senate debate on a measure ends, you can pass the bill with a simple majority vote. So if you’re willing to outlast the other side, you don’t need cloture. This could take weeks, as other Voting Rights bills did, but we have a few tools that help.

One is my DISCLOSE Act being in the bill. Republicans must vote against it for their dark-money donors, but that kills them with voters. Ditto gerrymandering. Lots of focus on those painful votes for them in the bill will help.

Another is the Senate speak-twice rule. Senators who’ve spoken twice on a question can be ruled out of order if they keep at it. That’s why real filibusters were long, uninterrupted speeches. Not one and done, but two and done. (Yup, that’s 100 speeches by Rs — sorry!)

The motion to table allows the Senate to clear the decks of amendments. Each requires a vote, but is not debatable. Week after week, even through weekends, table the bad amendments.

“Dilatory” motions, amendments and other delaying mischief can be ruled out of order by the presiding officer. It takes a fair amount of nonsense before it becomes clearly dilatory, but it’s then a simple point of order—no vote.

So it’s painful, and long, and you have to exhaust Republican speakers and table or stop dilatory motions and amendments, but you can get to a simple majority vote — eventually.



One thought on “How a bill becomes law, according to Sheldon Whitehouse

  1. Yesterday’s Senate vote on voting rights made hypocritical, demagogues Manchin and Sinema look ridiculous once again.

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