09 February, 2009

Cloture!

Cloture is a sexy word. I never realized this. Just roll it around on your tongue: cloture. Clooooture. A motion, in the US Senate, to bring debate to a close. E.g., a motion to save us from any more of Senator Vitter's rants on about how if we pass the stimulus bill Acorn will take over the world.

Well, President Obama just squeaked out his first major legislative victory with the cloture vote that just passed with 61 votes (cloture requires 60; otherwise, any senator can filibuster indefinitely). The votes of the moderate Republicans - Snowe, Collins and Specter - cost the bill almost 100 billion of its most effective stimulus, but a 830 billion bill in just over two weeks isn't bad. And once the bill is actually passed tomorrow (which is much less dramatic, since simple passage requires only 51 votes), it will then go to committee which could put some more of that 100 billion back in.

And just think how much worse the bill would have been if we needed 2-3 more Republicans...

Update: So apparently for some reason this bill needs 60 votes for simple passage, demonstrating my embarrassing lack of understanding of how the Senate functions even after 5+ months. Well, it still passed. But lets stop and recognize for a moment how unreasonable it is that major legislation functionally needs a 2/3 majority for passage, not even considering a filibuster.

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