Was Debate Ever Properly Closed?

Of course, we do not intend that Zero Hedge should become a center of excellence for the review of obscure Senate rules, but, as a consequence of the full-court-press-rush to pass the health care bill, this was too interesting not to reprint:

Under Senate Rule XXII, “a measure or motion to amend the Senate rules… the necessary affirmative vote shall be two-thirds of the Senators present and voting” to end debate. Yet there were only 60 votes for cloture on the Reid bill. So unless there is some basis for giving special treatment to rules changes that are buried into other legislation, it would seem that either a) cloture was not achieved, or b) the entrenchment provisions do not actually alter the Senate rules.


I’m told that a fine point of distinction means that Reid’s entrenchment clauses were blessed by a Senate parliamentarian with respect to the 60 needed.  I suppose one needs to be far more versed in the minutia of Senate procedure than an honest citizen could claim to be.


Here was DeMint on the topic yesterday:

The entire thing is worth watching, but here is our favorite part:

DEMINT: and so the language you see in this bill that specifically refers to a change in a rule is not a rule change, it’s a procedure change?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER: that is correct.

Either way the process continues:

Senate Democrats cleared the last 60-vote hurdle on U.S. President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul on Wednesday, virtually ensuring final passage of its version of the biggest health policy changes in four decades.