Cruz Filibuster, Senate Rule XXII — The Cloture Rule Requires 60 Votes To End Debate — Stands Against Obamacare and For Defunding Obamacare — Make D.C. Listen! — Videos
Countdown to government shutdown
By Raymond Thomas Pronk
The nonessential parts of the federal government may be shut down on Oct. 1 until Congress passes either a fiscal year 2014 budget appropriations bill or a continuing resolution.
Fiscal year 2014 begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2014. Since the Democrats want to increase government spending and taxes and the Republicans want to decrease government spending and taxes, neither party will agree to a budget appropriations bill.
Instead of a stalemate, Congress could pass a joint continuing resolution that appropriates funds for government departments, agencies and programs at current, expanded or reduced levels until a formal appropriations bill is signed into law or until the resolution expires. A continuing resolution would have to be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the president.
The House passed a continuing resolution on Sept. 20 that would fund the federal government at current levels for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year 2014 and keep the federal government open. If this continuing resolution is not passed by the Senate, some nonessential parts of the federal government would need to be shut down.
The House resolution had two amendments. The first would strip out funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare and thereby stop its implementation. The second would direct how federal government spending is prioritized in the event the Treasury hits the borrowing debt ceiling limit in the near future.
The 230-189 vote was mainly along party lines with 228 Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor and 188 Democrats and one Republican voting against the continuing resolution.
House votes to fund federal government but defund Obamacare Credit: http://www.ktvu.com
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) held a victory rally after the resolution passed and remarked, “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare. The House has listened to the American people. Now it’s time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well.”
House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor put several Democratic Senators, who are up for re-election in Nov. of 2014, on the spot. Cantor called out Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Cantor said, “It’s up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sept. 19, “I will do everything and anything possible to defund Obamacare.” Cruz promised to filibuster any attempt to strip out the language of the House continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare. A filibuster is the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a Senator to prevent the adoption of a measure.
Cruz began his filibuster by saying: “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans. All across this country Americans are suffering because of Obamacare. Obamacare isn’t working and yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people. They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents. They are not listening to the jobs lost, the people forced into part-time jobs, the people losing their health insurance, the people who are struggling. A great many Texans, a great many Americans feel that they do not have a voice. So I hope to play some very small part in helping to provide that voice for them. …I intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare, until I am unable to stand.”
Cruz delivered on his promise by standing and speaking for more than 21 hours on Sept. 23-24.
According to a Sept. 15 NBC/WSJ poll, 44 percent of respondents call Obamacare a bad idea and 31 percent believe it’s a good idea.
In a national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted on Sept. 14-15 by Rasmussen Reports, 51 percent favor a government shutdown until Congress cuts health care funding. The Rasmussen survey also found that “58 percent favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while 16 percent prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.”
According to Rasmussen, “74 percent of Republican and 62 percent of unaffiliated voters would rather have a shutdown until the two sides can agree on what spending to cut,” while “63 percent of Democrats agree with the president and would prefer to avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels.”
“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
The Democrats are determined to fund Obamacare, shut down the government on Oct.1 and blame it on Republicans.
Raymond Thomas Pronk presents the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 4-5 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and from 3-5 p.m. Friday and authors the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com.
John Boehner Says AMERICA DOES NOT WANT Obamacare!
Cruz Kicks Off Filibuster
TED CRUZ SENATE FILIBUSTER LAST 15 MINUTES
Ted Cruz Reveals His Biggest Surprise to Rush Limbaugh – Obamacare Filibuster – 9/25/13
►► Rush Limbaugh on Sen Ted Cruz’s Report on Obama Administration Attempts to Expand Federal Power
Ted Cruz Begins Anti-Obamacare ‘Filibuster’: ” Until I Am No Longer Able to Stand ” – 9/24/13
Rand Paul during Senator Ted Cruz Obamacare Filibuster 9/24/13
Ted Cruz Reads Green Eggs And Ham. Ted Cruz Filibuster
Ted Cruz Defends Defunding ObamaCare in Filibuster on Senate Floor
Sen. Ted Cruz Delivers First Major Floor Speech Offering an Amendment to Defund Obamacare
►► Sen Ted Cruz with Greta Van Susteren on Defunding Obamacare
Shutdown Showdown – Sen Ted Cruz On Defunding Obamacare – Hannity – 9-23-2013
Palin Fires Back at Fmr. McCain Strategist, GOP Establishment for ‘Waving White Flag’ on Obamacare
Brit Hume To O’Reilly: Talk Radio Hosts Driving Republicans to Embrace ‘Suicide Missions’
LibertyNEWS TV – “ObamaCare Sound & Fury: Name-Shaming & Blame-Gaming”
The Nuclear Option: The Filibuster “Power Grab” in the Senate
Professor Michael Teter ’99 on “The Unconstitutional Senate: One Senator, One Vote, One Filibuster”
Background Articles and Videos
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – “Liberty is too Precious a thing to be buried in books”
The Greatest Speech Ever Made – Charlie Chaplin
The filibuster is a powerful parliamentary device in the United States Senate, which was strengthened in 1975  and in the past decade has come to mean that most major legislation (apart from budgets) requires a 60% vote to bring a bill or nomination to the floor for a vote. In recent years, the majority has preferred to avoid filibusters by moving to other business when a filibuster is threatened and attempts to achieve cloture have failed. Defenders call the filibuster “The Soul of the Senate.”
Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless “three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn” (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.
According to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Ballin (1892), changes to Senate rules could be achieved by a simple majority, but only on the first day of the session in January or March. The idea is that on this first day, the rules of the new legislative session are determined afresh, and rules do not automatically continue from one session to the next. This is called the constitutional option by proponents, and the nuclear option by opponents, who insist that rules do remain in force across sessions. Under current Senate rules, a rule change itself could be filibustered, with two-thirds of those senators present and voting (as opposed to the normal three-fifths of those sworn) needing to vote to break the filibuster. Even if a filibuster attempt is unsuccessful, the process takes floor time.
Cloture (/ˈkloʊtʃər/ KLOH-chər) is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for “ending” or “conclusion”. It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstruction of the Irish nationalist party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures.
|This article is part of a series on the|
|United States Senate|
|History of the United States Senate|
Politics and procedure
The cloture rule originally required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators “present and voting” to be considered filibuster-proof. For example, if all 100 Senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some Senators were absent and only 80 Senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor. However, it proved very difficult to achieve this; the Senate tried eleven times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster was particularly heavily used by Democratic Senators from Southern states to block civil rights legislation.
In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to a strength of 61 (with an additional Independent caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100). However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion’s passage from those Senators “present and voting” to those Senators “duly chosen and sworn”. Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every Senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. (For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 Senators “duly chosen and sworn”, it would only take 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.)
The new version of the cloture rule, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. This has considerably strengthened the power of the majority, and allowed it to pass many bills that would otherwise have been filibustered. (The Democratic Party held a two-thirds majority in the 89th Congress of 1965, but regional divisions among Democrats meant that many filibusters were invoked by Southern Democrats against civil rights bills supported by the Northern wing of the party). Some senators wanted to reduce it to a simple majority (51 out of 100) but this was rejected, as it would greatly diminish the ability of the minority to check the majority.
The three-fifths version of the cloture rule does not apply to motions to end filibusters relating to Senate Rule changes. To invoke cloture to end debate over changing the Senate Rules, the original version of the rule (two-thirds of those Senators “present and voting”) still applies.
The procedure for “invoking cloture,” or ending a filibuster, is as follows:
- A minimum of sixteen senators must sign a petition for cloture.
- The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator’s speech.
- The clerk reads the petition.
- The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting. For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday. (If the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.)
- On the second calendar day during which the Senate sits after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a “quorum call” is undertaken to ensure that a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
- The President of the Senate or President pro tempore presents the petition.
- The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty with no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to in the news media as a “test vote”.
After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:
- No more than thirty hours of debate may occur.
- No Senator may speak for more than one hour.
- No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day in between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.
- All amendments must be relevant to the debate.
- Certain procedural motions are not permissible.
- The presiding officer gains additional power in controlling debate.
- No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is disposed of.
The ability to invoke cloture was last attained by a US political party in the 113th Congress, by the Democrats, in regards to the Corker-Hoeven Amendment to the 2013 Immigration Reform Bill. The previous time was in the 113th Congress during a debate on the vacancy in the position of Secretary of Defense. The previous time was in the 111th Congress, also by the Democrats, with the help of two independents.