Floor Debate Rules

Floor Debate Rules - as they want. This leads to the...

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Floor Debate Rules A major difference between the House and Senate concerns the rules governing floor debate. In both houses, a majority of members must vote in favor of a bill for it to pass, but the rules for the debating and voting process differ greatly. Debate in the House Due to its large size, the House does not permit unlimited debate. Before a bill goes to the floor for debate, it must go through the House Rules Committee, which passes a rule to accompany each bill. This rule determines how much debate is permitted, as well as how many amendments to the bill can be proposed. A closed rule strongly limits or forbids any amendments, whereas an open rule allows for anyone to propose amendments. Debate in the Senate Because senators are supposed to be experienced and independent legislators, the Senate offers few rules for floor debate. In general, there are no rules: Senators can speak for as long as they wish and offer as many amendments
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Unformatted text preview: as they want. This leads to the filibuster, a tactic in which a senator in the minority on a bill holds the floor indefinitely with the aim of blocking all Senate business until the majority backs down. A filibuster can be stopped by a vote of cloture, which requires sixty votes. Filibusters are uncommon, but even the threat of one can cause consternation among senators. Because senators are allowed to offer as many amendments as they wish, they sometimes propose amendments that have nothing to do with the bill. These amendments are called riders and can serve a number of purposes. One rider may be added to attract votesby adding funding for a popular cause, for examplewhereas others can discourage votes by adding a controversial provision to a bill....
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