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Brian1946's avatar

How were the Republicans able to block the Disclose Act, if a majority of the senators supported it?

Asked by Brian1946 (27005points) July 18th, 2012

According to an email I got from the office of Senator Chuck Schumer:

“I want to thank you for standing with us to build support for the DISCLOSE Act.

Over 350,000 of your fellow Americans joined you in signing the petition. That’s an incredible amount of support that really says something about how important people think it is to get secret money out of our elections.

I’m proud to say that dozens of my Democratic colleagues and I went to the mat for this, too, pushing the vote and speaking on the Senate floor for hours, going well past midnight.

In the end, a majority of senators supported the bill, but Republicans still blocked it.”

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4 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

According to this
the result was 59–39-2, which is below the required 3/5th majority.

jerv's avatar

In this case, it was a simple matter of driving it below 60 votes, but that is not the only weapon in the arsenal.

Even if they were unable to block it that way, there are many tricks with Paliamentary procedure that can effectively kill legislation. There have been things that passed 96–4 once allowed to come to a vote but were stopped by the Republicans because they were extorting a vote on a separate issue. And remember the fairly recent hubbub about the debt ceiling, a measure that they used to rubber-stamp until Obama got in?

ETpro's avatar

It’s called the filibuster. If the minority party announces they even want to filibuster, then it takes a 60/40 vote to shut them up (called cloture) and bring the issue to a vote. The filibustering party used to actually have to keep debating, even if that meant reading the telephone directories of major cities on the Senate Floor. If they ever shut up, the issue could come to a vote. But they changed that rule to make things easier on their candy-assed selves. Now all they have to do is say they intend to filibuster and immediately there is a vote to see if the majority can muster 60 votes to stop them. With the Senate nearly evenly divided, so long as Republicans all vote in lockstep, which they virtually always do; nothing can ever get done. The Republicans have used the filibuster an unprecedented 98 times in this Senate to make sure nothing gets done about job losses, offshoring, and such. They reckon most Americans are too ignorant of how Washington works to realize it’s them holding back the economy, and they will buy the accusations it’s all Obama’s fault and hand all power back over to Republicans.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro Too bad we cannot get the GOP declared a terrorist organization. I figure that doing so will drive the sane Conservatives out to form their own party (a sane counterbalance to the Democrats, as they used to be) while the whack-jobs get what they deserve; treason charges, indefinite detainment, and all the other things that enemies of America get.

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