Forcing his Republican colleagues to put up or shut up on the notion of an up-or-down vote, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just moments ago announced that he will immediately file a cloture motion on the Reed-Levin troop redeployment bill and, if Republicans follow through with a filibuster, will place the Senate in a prolonged all-night session Tuesday to force a true continuation of debate.Senators usually don't actually take to the Senate floor and talk until they drop. The intent to filibuster is just taken as the same thing, and a cloture motion is filed that requires a 60-vote threshold instead of a simply majority. Well, now Harry Reid has decided to make Republicans actually filibuster ala Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."
"Now, Republicans are using a filibuster to block us from even voting on an amendment that could bring the war to a responsible end," said Reid. "They are protecting the President rather than protecting our troops. They are denying us an up or down – yes or no – vote on the most important issue our country faces."
In making this move (based on my understanding of Senate rules), Reid is invoking the provisions of Rule 22 (Precedence of Motions) of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which provides, at the Majority Leader's discretion, up to 30 hours of debate if a filibuster is initiated -- as the Republicans will most certainly do, knowing that Reed-Levin may very well have the 51 votes needed for passage.Reid plans to have cots dragged into Senate chambers and could hold the Senate in continuous session overnight Tuesday and into midday Wednesday unless Republicans agree to a simple-majority vote on Reed-Levin
Sixty votes are needed to achieve cloture (end debate) and move legislation to a full, deciding vote.
Reid will be using the provision of Rule 22 that allows for up to 30 hours of continuous debate once it's made clear -- in this case, by Republicans trying to avoid an up-or-down vote on Reed-Levin -- that there is a desire to continue debating the issue.
In other words, the Majority Leader is saying "You want to debate? We'll stay all night and debate."
This will definitely be a nice visual to see on TV if it actually happens.
And I'm sure more than one Democratic Senator will remind the public that Republicans screamed at the top of their lungs last year when it came to getting up-or-down votes on Bush's right-wing judicial nominees, but expressing the sentiments of most Americans and protecting America's troops gets no such treatment from them.Damn straight.