There is a fundamental difference between the Senate, which operates under a unanimous consent agreement, and the Senate, which operates under the Standing Rules. While Senate rules allow for virtually unlimited debate and very few restrictions on the right to offer change, these agreements usually limit the time for debate and the right of senators to offer change.2 Today, in an age of increased individualism and partisanship, unanimous consent agreements tend to be fragmentary, like. B set debate limits for a number of separate amendments, without limiting the number of amendments or setting a time or date for the final passage. legislation. However, compared to the pacts promulgated in the early 1900s, today`s agreements are often broader, more complex, and include more procedural details. Many precedents have even evolved to regulate „how [unanimous consent agreements] are to be interpreted and applied in different situations.“ 21 In short, unanimous consent agreements are essential to managing the Senate`s workload and protecting the procedural rights of senators. Rule XXII of the Senate, often referred to as the Closure Rules, allows a supermajority to restrict debate on a bill, amendment or motion; In addition, in the case of a bill, the closure restricts the changes that can be proposed. For example, supporters of a bill currently before us can table a motion to table a motion signed by at least 16 senators. Two days later, senators voted on the Closure motion. If three-fifths – usually 60 senators – agree, further consideration of the bill is limited to 30 hours, during which only changes from a predetermined list of German amendments can be proposed. After this last phase of weighing, the Senate will finally vote on the bill.
This final vote requires only a simple majority to be adopted. But since a Cloture process is often necessary to end debate on a bill, the bill must first receive the support of a three-fifths supermajority. Overall, this process of getting a final vote on a bill can take about a week in the Senate. Two days later, Senator Allen again asked the Senate to informally agree to „set a specific day on which the vote could take place.“ 4 The Senate, he said, should simply refuse until there is a final vote. No action was taken on Allen`s recommendation. On April 13, 1846, however, a consensus developed among senators that a final vote on the joint resolution would take place three days later. Finally, after debating the matter for about 65 days, the Senate passed the joint resolution on April 16. Indeed, if this was the first time that the Senate had used something like a unanimous consent agreement to end debate and override a vote on a measure, there is no doubt that these agreements have become more common in their use and more sophisticated in their procedural characteristics.
Various other problems have also been associated with these compacts. For example, senators questioned whether a motion to re-embarrass a bill violated a unanimous consent agreement to vote on the bill.16 Some senators said their colleagues might object if they were not present when a unanimous consent agreement was proposed. In response, Senator Thomas Martin, VA, the presumed Democratic leader of the parliamentary group, said: „If unanimous approval is obtained, he cannot leave his vote here to be recorded against unless a senator present opposes the Senate. The Senate cannot do business through members of Parliament in this way. 17 By a vote of 51 to 8, the Senate adopted section XII.20 Two essential parts of the section provide that (1) unanimous consent agreements are orders of the Senate, meaning that the Speaker is responsible for carrying out his or her mandate; and (2) the Senate may, by unanimous consent, amend unanimous consent. .