Leadership Tools for Managing the U.S. Senate
36 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 31 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
In recent Congresses, the leadership has made use of several procedural mechanisms with the apparent intent of managing the floor agenda – both in terms of what proposals reach the floor and the time required for their consideration. Our paper identifies and explains the most notable of these mechanisms and explicates their potential use as leadership management tools. The devices we address include (1) the way cloture is used on motions to consider measures; (2) the practice of moving to reconsider a failed vote on cloture; (3) filling the amendment tree on initial consideration; (4) filling the amendment tree in an exchange of amendments with the House; (5) unanimous consent agreements requiring 60 votes for agreement to a proposition; and (6) the expedited procedures governing action on budget reconciliation bills. Our central purpose is to indicate how the use of each device can potentially enhance leadership efforts to exercise greater control over the floor agenda.
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