What does this mean?
It takes 51 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. But it takes 60 votes to end debate. These days it's quite common for the minority party to threaten to filibuster (to debate indefinitely) in order to prevent action on a measure.
A cloture vote is the Senate's way of asking "Can we move on, please?" It needs 60 votes to pass. There are 100 senators. As a result, as few as 41 senators can, as a bloc, bring the U.S. Senate to a standstill.
Why this bill?
Good question. Read more about this bill and decide for yourself if it was worth holding up the business of the U.S. Senate.
- Amendment: In the nature of a substitute.
- Bill: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010
In the 111th Congress, Republicans tend to vote against cloture because they're in the minority. Historically, the party that is outnumbered wields the filibuster — but they've done so more and more often in recent years.
This was the 21st cloture vote of the 111th Congress.
So far there have been 90 cloture votes out of 696 roll call votes — a percentage of 12.93%.
The 110th Congress (2007–2008) set a crazy record: 112 cloture votes out of 657 roll call votes. That's a percentage of 17.0%! When it comes to legislative inaction, we've got some big shoes to fill.