The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Frist lost the cloture motion on Bolton!

What the Sam Hill is going on?

For Frist, the box score is horrible. Senate Leading 101 says, Never call a cloture unless you know you've got the votes. And Frist was four off: 56-42, with Inouye and Specter not voting.

Dems voting for cloture were Landrieu, Nelson (NE) and Pryor; Republicans voting against cloture were - Frist himself!

The reason for Frist's is, I surmise, to be found on p325 of Riddick's Senate Procedure: a motion to reconsider a cloture motion is only in order when moved by a senator who voted on the winning side on the cloture motion vote.

And Frist, as Majority Leader, has precedence in being called by the chair.

(The explanation (but not the Riddick's reference!) suggested from reading Atrios commenters, not AP.)

The general pattern on legislative clotures (that I've taken any notice of) is that a number of Dems who vote against a GOP bill have previously voted for cloture on the bill - and thereby made its passage inevitable. From memory, Reid himself did this on S 256. The fact that the Dems stayed pretty solid on the Bolton cloture suggests that either
  1. Reid has whipped them into House GOP-like discipline [scarcely credible]; or

  2. the serial fellow-travellers in the Dem ranks have been told this is a highly temporary, one-time thing, and that they can go back to nuzzling their GOP friends PDQ.

That's the sense I get from wire reports like this, certainly.

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