Cloture (UK: US: /ˈkloʊtʃər/,[1][2] also UK: /ˈkloʊtjʊər/),[3] closure,[4] or, informally, a guillotine[4] is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "the act of terminating something". It was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstructionism of the Irish Parliamentary Party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by the United States Senate and other legislatures. The name cloture remains in the United States;[3] in Commonwealth countries it is usually closure[3] or, informally, guillotine; in the United Kingdom closure and guillotine are distinct motions.[5][6]


In Australia, the procedure by which finite debating times for particular bills are set, or protracted debates are brought to a close, is referred to as a "guillotine". Generally, a minister will declare that a bill must be considered as urgent, and move a motion to limit debating time. The declaration and motion may refer to a single bill, or to multiple bills or packages of bills. A guillotine motion may not be debated or amended, and must be put to a vote immediately.[4]


Closure in Canada was adopted by the House of Commons in 1913 by Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden. The new closure rule was immediately tested by the government only a few days after its adoption during debate at the Committee of the Whole stage of the Naval Aid Bill.[7] "Closure" is the term used in Canada; "cloture" and "guillotine" are not used.

Procedure on closure in Canada is governed under Standing Order no. 57 of the House of Commons and consists of three parts: Notice of closure, a motion of closure, and a final period of debate before final voting on the bill being closured.

Notice of closure is an oral statement announcing intention to call for closure given by any Minister at a prior sitting of the Committee of the Whole. The notice need not be the day immediately prior to the sitting at which the bill will be closured, but cannot be in the same sitting as the final motion of closure.

The motion of closure, referred to as a motion "that the debate shall not be further adjourned", is passed by a simple majority of the House of Commons, although in the event of a tie, the Speaker of the House will apply Speaker Denison's rule to issue the casting vote.

Should the motion of closure pass, all members are given a single period in which to speak lasting no more than 20 minutes. If the final period of speaking to the bill has not been finished by 8:00 p.m. that same day, no MP may speak after that point, and the bill moves to a final vote[8].

Hong Kong

The first cloture in Hong Kong was introduced in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong on 17 May 2012, by Tsang Yok-sing (President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong), to abruptly halt filibuster during debate at the Committee of the Whole stage of the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2012.[9] The motion to end debate was submitted by Council member Philip Wong Yu-hong some time after 4 am Hong Kong time, after a marathon session that lasted over 33 hours. Wong stood up and suggested that legislatures in other countries have a procedure called "cloture motion", and suggested Council President should end debate immediately. President Tsang agreed and said that he considered ending debate even without Wong's suggestion because he would not allow debate to go on endlessly. Cloture is not defined by any rule or precedent of the Legislative Council. Tsang made reference to Standing Order 92, which stated "In any matter not provided for in these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure to be followed in the Council shall be such as may be decided by the President who may, if he thinks fit, be guided by the practice and procedure of other legislatures".[10] Standing Order 92 therefore may implicitly give Council President discretion on whether he should or should not follow the cloture rules of other legislatures, but this is up to debate. Legislative Council President Tsang chose to end debate without calling for a cloture vote, which is questionable. Council member Leung Kwok-hung then stood up and said that he had never heard of cloture without a vote anywhere else and suggested there should have been a cloture vote.

Cloture was again invoked by Tsang Yok-sing on 13 May 2013 to halt debate of the 2013 Appropriation Bill.

New Zealand

In the New Zealand House of Representatives, any MP called to speak may move a closure motion. If the length of the debate is not fixed by standing orders or the Business Committee, the Speaker may decide to put the closure motion to a vote, which is carried by a simple majority.[11]

United Kingdom


A closure motion may be adopted to end debate on a matter in both the House of Commons[5] and in the House of Lords by a simple majority of those voting. In the House of Commons, at least 100 MPs (not counting two acting as tellers) must vote in favour of the motion for closure to be adopted;[5] the Speaker of the House of Commons may choose to deny the closure motion,[5] if he or she feels that insufficient debate has occurred, or that the procedure is being used to violate the rights of the minority. In the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker does not possess an equivalent power. Only one closure motion is permitted per debate.[5]

Specific to legislation, a guillotine motion, formally an allocation of time motion, limits the amount of time for a particular stage of a bill.[6] Debate ceases when the allotted time expires; a single vote is taken immediately to pass the stage of the bill and, in the case of a committee stage or report stage, to accept all undebated sections and government amendments. The use of guillotines has been replaced by the programme motion, where the amount of time for each stage is agreed after a bill's second reading.[6][12] Both guillotine motions and programme motions are specific to the Commons; the Lords does not permit time restrictions.[6][12]


On 24 January 1881, the second Gladstone ministry attempted to move the first reading of the Protection of Person and Property Bill, a controversial response to the Irish agrarian disturbances known as the Land War.[13][14] The Irish Parliamentary Party (IPP) under Charles Stewart Parnell responded with the most extreme example of its policy of obstructionism by filibuster; after two sittings lasting 22 hours and then 41 hours, the Speaker of the Commons, Henry Brand simply refused to recognise any further IPP MPs wishing to speak, and in the early hours of 2 February 1881 he put the motion, which was passed.[14][15] The IPP MPs objected that this was an abuse by the speaker of their rights as members,[16] and the government responded by formalising the process as an amendment to the standing orders, moved by Gladstone on 3 February 1881:[14][17]

That, if upon Notice given a Motion be made by a Minister of the Crown that the state of Public Business is urgent, and if on the call of the Speaker 40 Members shall support it by rising in their places, the Speaker shall forthwith put the Question, no Debate, Amendment, or Adjournment being allowed; and if, on the voices being given he shall without doubt perceive that the Noes have it, his decision shall not be challenged, but, if otherwise, a Division may be forthwith taken, and if the Question be resolved in the affirmative by a majority of not less than three to one, the powers of the House for the Regulation of its Business upon the several stages of Bills, and upon Motions and all other matters, shall he and remain with the Speaker, until the Speaker shall declare that the state of Public Business is no longer urgent, or until the House shall so determine upon a Motion, which after Notice given may be made by any Member, put without Amendment, Adjournment, or Debate, and decided by a majority

Gladstone described it as "a subject of considerable novelty, and of the extremest gravity",[18] and many Irish members objected and were suspended from the House before the amendment motion was moved.[14][19]

In 1882, Gladstone proposed a major overhaul of the rules of procedure, and on 20 February debate began on the first resolution, on "putting the question".[14][20] The session beginning in November 1882 was devoted entirely to the new rules,[21] and the motion on putting the question was passed, after 19 days' debate, on 10 November 1882:[22]

That when it shall appear to Mr. Speaker, or to the Chairman of Ways and Means in a Committee of the whole House, during any Debate, that the subject has been adequately discussed, and that it is the evident sense of the House, or of the Committee, that the Question be now put, he may so inform the House or the Committee; and, if a Motion be made "That the Question be now put", Mr. Speaker, or the Chairman, shall forthwith put such Question; and, if the same be decided in the affirmative, the Question under discussion shall be put forthwith: Provided that the Question, "That the Question be now put", shall not be decided in the affirmative, if a Division be taken, unless it shall appear to have been supported by more than two hundred Members, or unless it shall appear to have been opposed by less than forty Members and supported by more than one hundred Members.

The rule was invoked only twice by Gladstone's ministry,[13] and the second Salisbury ministry secured its amendment, after six days' debate, on 1 March 1887:[14][13][23]

That, after a Question has been proposed, a Motion may be made, if the consent of the Chair has been previously obtained, "That the Question be now put". Such Motion shall be put forthwith, and decided without Amendment or Debate: When the Motion "That the Question be now put", has been carried, and the Question consequent thereon has been decided, any further Motion may be made (the consent of the Chair having been previously obtained) which, may be requisite to bring to a decision any Question already proposed from the Chair; and also if a Clause be then under consideration, a Motion may be made (with the consent of the Chair as aforesaid) That the Question, That the Clause stand part, or be added to the Bill, be now put. Such Motions shall be put forthwith, and decided without Amendment or Debate: Provided always, That Questions for the Closure of Debate shall not be decided in the affirmative, if a Division be taken, unless it shall appear by the numbers declared from the Chair, that such Motion was supported by more than Two Hundred Members, or was opposed by less than Forty Members, and supported by more than One Hundred Members

By 1909, the closure was applicable in committees and to motions as well as in the house and to bills.[14]

In 2000, the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons recommended discontinuing the use of allocation of time motions for bills, and instead passing a programme motion to make a programme order.[24] This was accepted by the Commons on 7 November 2000.[24] One of the Cameron–Clegg coalition's most significant parliamentary defeats was in 2012, on the programme motion for the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012; some rebel MPs agreed with the substance of the bill but felt not enough time had been allocated to its debate.[25]

United States


A cloture procedure similar to that of the United Kingdom was adopted on March 8, 1917, by the Senate of the United States. This was invoked for the first time on November 15, 1919,[26] during the 66th Congress, to end a filibuster on the Treaty of Versailles.[27]

The Senate's cloture rule originally[28] required a supermajority of two-thirds of all senators "present and voting" to be considered filibuster-proof.[29][30] For example, if all 100 senators voted on a cloture motion, 67 of those votes would have to be for cloture for it to pass; however if some senators were absent and only 80 senators voted on a cloture motion, only 54 would have to vote in favor.[31] However, it proved very difficult to achieve this. The Senate tried 11 times between 1927 and 1962 to invoke cloture but failed each time. Filibuster use was particularly heavy by Democratic senators from southern states to block civil rights legislation.[32]

In 1975, the Democratic Senate majority, having achieved a net gain of four seats in the 1974 Senate elections to attain a strength of 61 (with an additional independent senator caucusing with them for a total of 62), reduced the necessary supermajority to three-fifths (60 out of 100).[33] However, as a compromise to those who were against the revision, the new rule also changed the requirement for determining the number of votes needed for a cloture motion's passage from those senators "present and voting" to those senators "duly chosen and sworn". Thus, 60 votes for cloture would be necessary regardless of whether every senator voted. The only time a lesser number would become acceptable is when a Senate seat is vacant. For example, if there were two vacancies in the Senate, thereby making 98 senators "duly chosen and sworn", it would take only 59 votes for a cloture motion to pass.[31]

The new version of the cloture rule requiring three-fifths (60%) rather than two-thirds (66.7%) approval, which has remained in place since 1975, makes it considerably easier for the Senate majority to invoke cloture. Even so, a successful cloture motion on legislation is uncommon.

Bills considered under the reconciliation process established in 1974 (certain bills concerning spending and the budget) cannot be filibustered and therefore don't require a supermajority cloture vote.

The U.S. House of Representatives does not have a cloture procedure, since filibustering is not possible in that body.


The three-fifths version of the cloture rule does not apply to motions to end filibusters relating to Senate Rule changes. To invoke cloture to end debate over changing the Senate rules, the original version of the rule (two-thirds of those Senators "present and voting") still applies.[34]

The procedure for "invoking cloture", or ending a filibuster, is as follows:

  • A minimum of 16 senators must sign a petition for cloture.
  • The petition may be presented by interrupting another Senator's speech.
  • The clerk reads the petition.
  • The cloture petition is ignored for one full day during which the Senate is sitting (called a "Legislative Day"). For example, if the petition is filed on Monday, it is ignored until Wednesday; if the petition is filed on a Friday, it is ignored until Tuesday, assuming that the Senate did not sit on Saturday or Sunday.[35]
  • On the second Legislative Day after the presentation of the petition, after the Senate has been sitting for one hour, a "quorum call" is undertaken to ensure a majority of the Senators are present. However, the mandatory quorum call is often waived by unanimous consent.
  • The Majority Leader presents the petition.
  • The Senate votes on the petition; three-fifths of the whole number of Senators (sixty if there are no vacancies) is the required majority; however, when cloture is invoked on a question of changing the rules of the Senate, two-thirds of the Senators voting (not necessarily two-thirds of all Senators) is the requisite majority. This is commonly referred to as a "test vote".
  • Cloture on a presidential nomination requires a simple majority of those present and voting. This was changed for all presidential appointments other than Supreme Court nominees in a 21 November 2013 Senate vote (the so-called "nuclear option"),[36] and was further extended to include Supreme Court nominees in an 6 April 2017 Senate vote.

After cloture has been invoked, the following restrictions apply:

  • No more than 30 additional hours of debate may occur on the bill in question[37] (though this additional time is commonly shortened or vitiated altogether; in addition, since the nuclear option of April 2019, nominations to subcabinet executive branch, or district court, positions normally mandate only 2 additional hours).
  • No Senator may speak for more than one hour.
  • No amendments may be moved unless they were filed on the day between the presentation of the petition and the actual cloture vote.
  • All amendments must be relevant to the debate.
  • Certain procedural motions are not permissible. Senate Rule XXII provides that no dilatory motion or amendment is in order under cloture. [38] While there is no exact list of what motions are dilatory, “Motions to adjourn, postpone, recess, suspend the rules, and reconsider have been held to be dilatory. There also is precedent supporting the authority of the presiding officer to rule that a quorum call is dilatory under these circumstances.” [39]
  • The presiding officer gains additional powers in controlling debate such as the power to count to determine whether a quorum is present and to rule amendments, motions, and other actions out of order on the grounds that they are dilatory.
  • No other matters may be considered until the question upon which cloture was invoked is resolved.
US Senate cloture since 1917
Cloture voting in the United States Senate since 1917.[40]

See also


  1. ^ cloture in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
  2. ^ "cloture: definition of cloture in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US)". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "cloture - definition of cloture in English from the Oxford dictionary". Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Brief Guide No. 14 - Debating legislation under time limits (PDF), Parliament of Australia - Senate, 5 June 2009, retrieved 14 March 2012
  5. ^ a b c d e "Closure motions". Glossary. UK Parliament. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d "Allocation of time motions". Glossary. UK Parliament. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  7. ^ "House of Commons Procedure and Practice - Second Edition, 2009". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Standing Orders of the House of Commons, Chapter VIII (Motions)". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Legco president sets vote deadline". RTHK. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  10. ^ Procedure if Rules of Procedure do not Provide The Legislative Council -- Procedures
  11. ^ "Chapter 3: General procedures". Parliament of New Zealand. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Programme motion". Glossary. UK Parliament. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Koß, Michael (2012). ""The Legitimate Secret." On the Evolution of Parliamentary Agenda Control in Germany" (PDF). pp. 11–15. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Lee, Colin (2015). Besly, Nicolas (ed.). "Archibald Milman and the procedural response to obstruction, 1877–1888" (PDF). The Table. Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments. 83: 22–44 : 37–43. ISSN 0264-7133.; Redlich, Josef (1908). "The Urgency Procedure and the Introduction of the Closure (1881-1888)". The procedure of the House of Commons; a study of its history and present form. I. Translated by Steinthal, E. Ernest. Introduction and a Supplementary Chapter by Courtenay Ilbert. London: Archibald Constable. pp. 164–185.
  15. ^ Lyons, F.S.L. (4 October 2005). Charles Stewart Parnell, A Biography: The Definitive Biography of the Uncrowned King of Ireland. Gill Books. p. 159. ISBN 9780717163960. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  16. ^ "ORDER—PRIVILEGE—PROTECTION OR PERSON AND PROPERTY (IRELAND) BILL—CLOSURE OF THE DEBATE THIS MORNING". Hansard. 2 February 1881. pp. HC Deb vol 258 cc7–43. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  17. ^ HC Deb vol 258 cc.155–6
  18. ^ HC Deb vol 258 c.69
  19. ^ "RULES OF DEBATE—DIVISIONS-SUSPENSION OF MEMBERS. (Hansard, 3 February 1881)". HC Deb vol 258 cc.68-156. Hansard. 3 February 1881. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  20. ^ "PARLIAMENT—BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE—THE NEW RULES OF PROCEDURE—THE FIRST RESOLUTION (PUTTING THE QUESTION)". Hansard. 20 February 1882. HC Deb vol 266 cc1124-95. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  21. ^ "PARLIAMENT—BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE—THE NEW RULES OF PROCEDURE.—RESOLUTION". Hansard. 24 October 1882. HC Deb vol 274 cc45-69. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  22. ^ "Parliament—Business of the House—the New Rules of Procedure—First Rule (Putting the Question) [Adjourned debate.] [Nineteenth night.]". Hansard. 10 November 1882. HC Deb vol 274 cc1206-87. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  23. ^ "Business of the House (Rules of Procedure)—Rule 1 (Closure of debate).—Resolution. Adjourned Debate. [Sixth night.]". Hansard. 1 March 1887. HC Deb vol 311 cc916–79. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  24. ^ a b "I. Programme orders: supplementary provisions (,)". Hansard. 7 November 2000. HC Deb vol 356 cc213–80. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Lords reform: Coalition suffers biggest rebellion". BBC Online. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  26. ^ "The Senate and the League of Nations". United States Senate. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  27. ^ "Filibuster and Cloture". United States Senate.
  28. ^ Koger, Gregory Cloture Reform and Party Government in the Senate, 1918-1925, Journal of Politics, Vol. 68, No. 3 (Aug 2006), p. 708-719.
  29. ^ Times staff, wires (18 November 2008). "Q&A: How does a filibuster work?". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  30. ^ "Democrats still in the quest for 60 Senate seats". CNN. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  31. ^ a b Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate, Richard S. Beth and Stanley Bach, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress: March 23, 2003, p. 13.
  32. ^ Loevy, Robert D. (1997). The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Passage of the Law that Ended Racial Segregation SUNY Press. p. 29.
  33. ^ "What is Rule 22?", Rule22 Blog, 5/28/2011.
  34. ^ Invoking Cloture in the Senate, Christopher M. Davis, June 4, 2007, page 2.
  35. ^ Davis, Christopher. "Invoking Cloture in the Senate". Retrieved 25 May 2011.
  36. ^ Davis, Christopher M. (24 April 2015). "Invoking Cloture in the Senate" (PDF). CRS Reports. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  37. ^ "Virtual Reference Desk - Cloture". United States Senate.
  38. ^
  39. ^ “Filibusters and Cloture in the Senate”, Valerie Heitshusen and Richard S. Beth, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress: April 7, 2017 p.17
  40. ^ "Senate Action on Cloture Motions". United States Senate. Retrieved 22 November 2013.


  • Finley, Keith M. (2008). Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938–1965. Making the modern South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3345-3.
2010–11 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2010–11 Ligue Haïtienne season was the 47th season of top-tier football in Haiti. It began on 30 July 2010 and ended on 30 January 2011. The league is split into two tournaments—the Série de Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 16 teams.

2011 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2011 Ligue Haïtienne season was the 48th year of top-tier football in Haiti. It began on 1 May 2011. The league is split into two tournaments—the Série de Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 15 teams.

The league contracted from 16 to 15 clubs for this season.

2015 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2015 Ligue Haïtienne season was the 52nd season of top-tier football in Haiti. The league was split into two tournaments—the Série de Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 20 teams.

2016 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2016 Ligue Haïtienne season was the 53rd season of top-tier football in Haiti. It began on 21 February 2016. The league is split into two tournaments—the Série d'Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 18 teams.

In a change from last year, the number of teams in the league has been reduced from 20 to 18.

2017 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2017 Ligue Haïtienne season is the 54th season of top-tier football in Haiti. It began on 4 March 2017. The league is split into two tournaments—the Série d'Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 16 teams.

In a change from last year, the number of teams in the league has been reduced from 18 to 16. Also, the playoffs for both seasons have been changed, having 6 teams qualify with seeds 3 through 6 starting in the quarterfinals and the 1 and 2 seeds starting in the semifinals.

2018 Ligue Haïtienne season

The 2018 Ligue Haïtienne season is the 55th season of top-tier football in Haiti. It began on 17 February 2018 and ended on 27 December 2018. The league Championnat National Haïtien Professionnel is split into two tournaments—the Série d'Ouverture and the Série de Clôture—each with identical formats and each contested by the same 16 teams.

2019 Ligue Haïtienne

The 2019 Ligue Haïtienne is the 56th season of the Ligue Haïtienne, the top-tier football league in Haiti. The league Championnat National Haïtien Professionnel is split into two tournaments — the Série d'Ouverture and the Série de Clôture — each with identical formats and each contested by the same 16 teams. The season began on 2 March 2019.

American SAFE Act of 2015

The SAFE Act (full title American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015) was a United States legislative proposal for Syrian and Iraqi refugees that would require extra background investigation before entry into the US.

Additional procedure to authorize admission for each refugee

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) certifies they received a background investigation sufficient to determine whether the refugee is a U.S. security threat, to both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Director of National Intelligence.

The Department of Homeland Security, FBI and Director of National Intelligence unanimously certify to Congress that the refugee not such a threat.The bill was first introduced in the House on November 17th, 2015, H.R. 4038 by Michael McCaul. It was passed by the House, but on January 20th, 2016 it failed cloture in the senate (also known as a filibuster.)

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007

The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (full name: Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348)) was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States. The bill was portrayed as a compromise between providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and increased border enforcement: it included funding for 300 miles (480 km) of vehicle barriers, 105 camera and radar towers, and 20,000 more Border Patrol agents, while simultaneously restructuring visa criteria around high-skilled workers. The bill also received heated criticism from both sides of the immigration debate. The bill was introduced in the United States Senate on May 9, 2007, but was never voted on, though a series of votes on amendments and cloture took place. The last vote on cloture, on June 7, 2007, 11:59 AM, failed 34–61 effectively ending the bill's chances. A related bill S. 1639, on June 28, 2007, 11:04 AM, also failed 46–53.

Conservative coalition

The conservative coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition bringing together a conservative majority of the Republican Party and the conservative (mostly Southern) wing of the Democratic Party. According to James T. Patterson: "By and large the congressional conservatives agreed in opposing the spread of federal power and bureaucracy, in denouncing deficit spending, in criticizing industrial labor unions, and in excoriating most welfare programs. They sought to "conserve" an America which they believed to have existed before 1933."The coalition was dominant in Congress from 1937 to 1963 and remained a political force until the mid-1990s when few conservative Democrats remained in Congress. The conservative Democrats formed the Blue Dog Coalition, after the Republican Revolution in 1994. In terms of Congressional roll call votes, it primarily appeared on votes affecting labor unions.

The conservative coalition did not cooperate on civil rights bills in unison, requiring a partnership between member Everett Dirksen and President Johnson to unite sufficient numbers of northern Republicans to ally with northern liberal Democrats to push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cloture. However, the coalition did have the power to prevent unwanted bills from even coming to a vote. The coalition included many committee chairmen from the South who blocked bills by not reporting them from their committees. Furthermore, Howard W. Smith, chairman of the House Rules Committee, often could kill a bill simply by not reporting it out with a favorable rule; he lost some of that power in 1961. The conservative coalition was not concerned with foreign policy, as most of the southern Democrats were internationalists, a position opposed by most Republicans before the 1950s.

Filibuster in the United States Senate

A filibuster in the United States Senate is a tactic used in the United States Senate to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote. The most common form of filibuster occurs when one or more senators attempt to delay or block a vote on a bill by extending debate on the measure. The Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish, and on any topic they choose, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" (usually 60 out of 100) bring the debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII.

The ability to block a measure through extended debate was an inadvertent side effect of an 1806 rule change, and was infrequently used during much of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1970, the Senate adopted a "two-track" procedure to prevent filibusters from stopping all other Senate business. The minority then felt politically safer in threatening filibusters more regularly, which became normalized over time to the point that 60 votes are now required to end debate on nearly every controversial legislative item. As a result, "the contemporary Senate has morphed into a 60-vote institution — the new normal for approving measures or matters — a fundamental transformation from earlier years."Efforts to limit the practice include laws that explicitly limit the time for Senate debate, notably the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 that created the budget reconciliation process. Changes in 2013 and 2017 now require only a simple majority to invoke cloture on nominations, although most legislation still requires 60 votes.

One or more senators may still occasionally hold the floor for an extended period, sometimes without the advance knowledge of the Senate leadership. However, these "filibusters" usually result only in brief delays and do not determine outcomes, since the Senate's ability to act ultimately depends upon whether there are sufficient votes to invoke cloture and proceed to a final vote on passage. However, such brief delays can be politically relevant when exercised shortly before a major deadline (such as avoiding a government shutdown) or before a Senate recess.

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009

The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, or FERA, Pub.L. 111–21, S. 386, 123 Stat. 1617, enacted May 20, 2009, is a public law in the United States enacted in 2009. The law enhanced criminal enforcement of federal fraud laws, especially regarding financial institutions, mortgage fraud, and securities fraud or commodities fraud.

Gang of 14

The Gang of 14 was a phrase coined to describe the bipartisan group of Senators in the 109th United States Congress who successfully, at the time, negotiated a compromise in the spring of 2005 to avoid the deployment of the so-called "nuclear option" by Senate Republicans over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate Democrats. The term alludes to the phrase "Gang of Four", used in China to refer to four ex-leaders blamed for the abuses during the rule of Mao Zedong.

Lyndon B. Johnson Supreme Court candidates

The nominations made by Lyndon B. Johnson to the Supreme Court of the United States are unusual in that Johnson appeared to have had specific individuals in mind for his appointments and actively sought to engineer vacancies on the Court to place those individuals on the court.

Nuclear option

The nuclear option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the United States Senate to override the 60-vote rule to close debate, by a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the two-thirds supermajority normally required to amend the rules. The option is invoked when the majority leader raises a point of order that only a simple majority is needed to close debate on certain matters. The presiding officer denies the point of order based on Senate rules, but the ruling of the chair is then appealed and overturned by majority vote, establishing new precedent.

This procedure effectively allows the Senate to decide any issue by simple majority vote, regardless of existing procedural rules such as Rule XXII which requires the consent of 60 senators (out of 100) to end a filibuster for legislation, and 67 for amending a Senate rule. The term "nuclear option" is an analogy to nuclear weapons being the most extreme option in warfare.

In November 2013, Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid used the nuclear option to eliminate the 60-vote rule on executive branch nominations and federal judicial appointments, but not for the Supreme Court. In April 2017, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell extended the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominations in order to end debate on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.As of March 2019, a three-fifths majority vote is still required to end debates on legislation.

Patricia Millett

Patricia Ann Millett ( (listen); born September 1963) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She formerly headed the Supreme Court practice at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Millett also was a longtime former assistant to the United States Solicitor General and served as an occasional blogger for SCOTUSblog. At the time of her confirmation to the D.C. Circuit, she had argued 32 cases before the United States Supreme Court. In February 2016 The New York Times identified her as a potential nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.Millett's 2013 nomination to the D.C. Circuit, along with the nominations of Robert L. Wilkins and Nina Pillard, ultimately became central to the debate over the use of the filibuster in the United States Senate, leading to the use of the nuclear option to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Previous question

In parliamentary procedure, the previous question (also known as "calling for the question", "calling the question", "close debate", "calling for a vote", "vote now", or other similar forms) is generally used as a motion to end debate on a pending proposal and bring it to an immediate vote. The meaning of this specialized motion has nothing to do with any question previously considered by the assembly.

In the United States Senate and in parliaments, a motion for "cloture", or "closure", is used instead to end debate. In those bodies, the "previous question" has a different use and is rarely used or not used at all.

Standing Rules of the United States Senate

The Standing Rules of the Senate are the parliamentary procedures adopted by the United States Senate that govern its procedure. The Senate's power to establish rules derives from Article One, Section 5 of the United States Constitution: "Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings..."

There are currently 44 rules, with the latest revision having been adopted on January 24, 2013. (The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006 lobbying reform bill introduced a 44th rule on earmarks). The stricter rules are often waived by unanimous consent.

The Constitution provides that a majority of the Senate constitutes a quorum to do business. Under the rules and customs of the Senate, a quorum is always assumed to be present unless a quorum call explicitly demonstrates otherwise. Any senator may request a quorum call by "suggesting the absence of a quorum"; a clerk then calls the roll of the Senate and notes which members are present. In practice, senators almost always request quorum calls not to establish the presence of a quorum, but to temporarily delay proceedings without having to adjourn the session. Such a delay may serve one of many purposes; often, it allows Senate leaders to negotiate compromises off the floor or to allow Senators time to come to the Senate floor to make speeches without having to constantly be present in the chamber while waiting for the opportunity. Once the need for a delay has ended, any senator may request unanimous consent to rescind the quorum call.

During debates, senators may only speak if called upon by the presiding officer. The presiding officer is, however, required to recognize the first senator who rises to speak. Thus, the presiding officer has little control over the course of debate. Customarily, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader are accorded priority during debates, even if another senator rises first. All speeches must be addressed to the presiding officer, using the words "Mr. President" or "Madam President." Only the presiding officer may be directly addressed in speeches; other Members must be referred to in the third person. In most cases, senators do not refer to each other by name, but by state, using forms such as "the senior senator from Virginia" or "the junior senator from California."

There are very few restrictions on the content of speeches; there is no requirement that speeches be germane to the matter before the Senate.

The Standing Rules of the United States Senate provide that no senator may make more than two speeches on a motion or bill on the same legislative day. (A legislative day begins when the Senate convenes and ends with adjournment; hence, it does not necessarily coincide with the calendar day.) The length of these speeches is not limited by the rules; thus, in most cases, senators may speak for as long as they please. Often, the Senate adopts unanimous consent agreements imposing time limits. In other cases (for example, for the Budget process), limits are imposed by statute. In general, however, the right to unlimited debate is preserved.

The filibuster is an obstructionary tactic used to defeat bills and motions by prolonging debate indefinitely. A filibuster may entail, but does not actually require, long speeches, dilatory motions, and an extensive series of proposed amendments. The longest filibuster speech in the history of the Senate was delivered by Strom Thurmond, who spoke for over twenty-four hours in an unsuccessful attempt to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. The Senate may end a filibuster by invoking cloture. In most cases, cloture requires the support of three-fifths of the Senate; however, if the matter before the Senate involves changing the rules of the body, a two-thirds majority is required. Cloture is invoked very rarely, particularly because bipartisan support is usually necessary to obtain the required supermajority. If the Senate does invoke cloture, debate does not end immediately; instead, further debate is limited to thirty additional hours unless increased by another three-fifths vote.

When debate concludes, the motion in question is put to a vote. In many cases, the Senate votes by voice vote; the presiding officer puts the question, and Members respond either "Aye!" (in favor of the motion) or "No!" (against the motion). The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote. Any senator, however, may challenge the presiding officer's assessment and request a recorded vote. The request may be granted only if it is seconded by one-fifth of the senators present. In practice, however, senators second requests for recorded votes as a matter of courtesy. When a recorded vote is held, the clerk calls the roll of the Senate in alphabetical order; each senator responds when his or her name is called. Senators who miss the roll call may still cast a vote as long as the recorded vote remains open. The vote is closed at the discretion of the presiding officer, but must remain open for a minimum of 15 minutes. If the vote is tied, the Vice President, if present, is entitled to a casting vote. If the Vice President is not present, however, the motion is resolved in the negative.

On occasion, the Senate may go into what is called a secret, or closed session. During a closed session, the chamber doors are closed, and the galleries are completely cleared of anyone not sworn to secrecy, not instructed in the rules of the closed session, or not essential to the session. Closed sessions are quite rare, and are usually held only under certain circumstances where the Senate is discussing sensitive subject-matter such as information critical to national security, private communications from the President, or even to discuss Senate deliberations during impeachment trials. Any Senator has the right to call a closed session as long as the motion is seconded.

Budget bills are governed under a special rule process called "Reconciliation" that disallows filibusters. Reconciliation was devised in 1974 but came into use in the early 1980s.

United States Senate

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety. Each state, regardless of its population size, is equally represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 to 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states they represented; they are now elected by popular vote, following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.

As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers. In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House.

The Senate is widely considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, who is President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, who is customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers.

Major concepts
Subsidiary motions
Privileged motions
Incidental motions
Motions that bring a question
again before the assembly
Legislative procedures
Disciplinary procedures
Parliamentary authorities

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