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What's Next Harry Reid?

July 18, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

Well, it’s 4 in the morning and the Senate’s all-night Iraq debate is rolling right along. John McCain (R-AZ) has the floor right now and he’s sounding like he needs a nap in the cloakroom (pictured at right, being prepared with cots). The next bit of action will occur at 5 this morning when a quorum call is held. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled the quorum call as a way to ensure that at least 51 senators are hanging around for the debate. As TPMCafe points out, if there aren’t 51 senators present at the time of the 5 a.m. quorum vote, Reid can send the Sergeant-at-arms to go and round up (and even arrest) any missing Republicans and drag them to the Senate floor to check in. It’ll be a good time to tune into C-SPAN 2 to catch sight of your senator looking her/his best.

A cloture vote on the Levin-Reed troop withdrawal amendment will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning. It’s highly unlikely that the amendment will pass the 60-vote hurdle and the debate will come to an end. The question then will be what happens next. There are about 200 other amendments to the Department of Defense Authorization bill and Harry Reid could choose to move on to debating and voting on them. Or, he could hold another all-night debate ending in another cloture vote on the Levin-Reed amendment. And as this report from the Congressional Research Service explains, he can keep doing this over and over and over….

>There often has been more than one cloture vote on the same question. If and
when the Senate rejects a cloture motion, a Senator then can file a second motion to
invoke cloture on that question. In some cases, Senators even have anticipated that
a cloture motion may fail, so they have filed a second motion before the Senate has
voted on the first one. For example, one cloture motion may be presented on
Monday and another on Tuesday. If the Senate rejects the first motion when it
matures on Wednesday, the second motion will ripen for a vote on Thursday. (If the
Senate agrees to the first motion, there is no need, of course, for it to act on the
second.) There have been instances in which there have been even more cloture
votes on the same question. During the 100th Congress (1987-1988), for example,
there were eight cloture votes, all unsuccessful, in connection with a campaign
finance reform bill.

Did Reid file another cloture motion on the Levin-Reid amendment on Tuesday? We’ll know once the Congressional Record’s Daily Digest for Tuesday July 17th is posted. I don’t know when that will be and I am going to sleep now. But when the records are updated, it will show up on the top of this list. Reid’s cloture request in the Daily Digest would look like this:

>A motion was entered to close further debate on Levin Amendment No. 2087 (to Amendment No. 2011) (listed above), and, in accordance with the provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, a vote on cloture will occur on Thursday, July 19, 2007.

Let us know in the comments if you see it.

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