On Thursday, February 4, 2010, 16 Senators attempted to filibuster a nomination and failed.

16 Republicans tried to stall a nomination they didn't like.

Senate Roll Call #19:

On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Martha A. Johnson to be Administrator of General Services Administration).

Vote passed, 81–16.

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.

Still confused?

Why this bill?

Good question. Read more about this nomination and decide for yourself if it was worth holding up the business of the U.S. Senate.

Why Republicans?

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.

90 Votes 12.93% Gridlocked


This was the 41st 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.

Who voted against cloture?

Is one of your senators in this list? Get in touch and ask what's up.

AL Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby

AZ Jon Kyl

GA C. Saxby Chambliss, Johnny Isakson

ID Mike Crapo, Jim Risch

IA Chuck Grassley

KY Jim Bunning, Mitch McConnell

MS Thad Cochran, Roger Wicker

MO Kit Bond

NH Judd Gregg

TN Lamar Alexander

UT Orrin Hatch