One of the first items on our daily agenda in the Senate is the transmission of House messages – this is the process by which we receive bills from the House and gives the bill it's first reading before being assigned to a Senate committee.
The Democrats decided to slow things down again and began filibustering each of these bills. We patiently let this process go while leadership worked with the democrat leadership in an attempt to find out what had them upset. Turns out, we never really knew BUT we decided it was time to cloture the debate and move on with actual work, ending the delay tactics.
As background - the cloture vote is Rule 20 of the Senate and follows: The Committee on Rules may report a special rule that debate on any measure shall cease at a certain hour and a vote be taken on the measure. The consideration of such special rule shall not exceed twenty minutes, when a vote shall be taken thereon; and if three-fifths of the members elected shall vote to limit debate, then said rule or petition shall have been adopted by the Senate.
Three-fifths of the members of the Senate requires 21 of the 35 members of the Senate…we were short with a 20 – 10 vote, 5 Senators either passed or were not on the floor. So, now that we had decided to invoke cloture when in reality, we didn’t have enough votes, we had to listen to hours of filibustering. The vote count is linked here; a yes vote supported closing debate and moving forward on the agenda. A no vote supported allowing the filibuster to continue.
I certainly can’t speak for why some voted (or didn’t vote at all) as each Senator answers for themselves…you’ll have to ask them but I'm left scratching my head. I'll be clear - I support full and open debate and will continue to work to encourage that time honored process. However, I will not stand for delay tactics.
After some soul searching leadership was able to pull the Senate Republican Majority back together in the early afternoon and get back on track. We had to continue to cloture (successfully this time) as the democrats employed every delay tactic at their disposal – reading the bills at length prior to final vote, having the titles read of each bill received from the House, etc. One of the bills read at length took over one hour to complete...productive? I think not.
We finally passed three bills in the Senate…the Senate adjourned at 8:30 PM…ten and half hour day and we passed three bills. I can’t wait to get to the heavy-lifting…the budgets and redistricting.
Sure wish our Republican majority would have shown up earlier in the day.
The Senate goes back into session on Tuesday at 9:00 AM.
While I've had better days in the Senate, no day is better than this Sunday, Easter Sunday - My prayer is that everyone enjoys a Happy Easter with family and friends, for He has risen.
Semper Fi - Bill