One senator's procedural obstacle could shut down government


Things might get tricky over the next few days. This was part of an article in Roll Call. The idea is that the House and Senate “hot line” bills toward the end of a legislative session, and they are all voted on by unanimous consent. However, if one senator objects, the Senate must go through complicated and time consuming procedural votes requiring a 60 vote super majority.

So what’s going on exactly?

Sen. Jim DeMint warned his colleagues Monday night that he would place a hold on all legislation that has not been “hot-lined” by the chamber or has not been cleared by his office before the close of business Tuesday. […]

Traditionally, the Senate passes noncontroversial measures by unanimous consent at the end of most workdays, a process known as hot-lining. DeMint, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and others have fought against the practice for years and have dedicated staff members to reviewing bills that are to be hot-lined.

As a result, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have generally given DeMint, Coburn and others time to review legislation before proceeding with unanimous consent agreements.

But in a terse e-mail sent to all 100 Senate chiefs of staff Monday evening, Steering Committee Chief of Staff Bret Bernhardt warned that DeMint would place a hold on any legislation that had not been hot-lined or been cleared by his office before the close of business Tuesday.

But what does this mean for the federal worker? Well, the Senate is set to consider a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Sept. 30 and into the next year. But an objection by DeMint could halt that process, and either cause a delay in passing the CR until past the Sept. 30 deadline or allow DeMint to attach conditions that he finds more favorable.

Hang on, it could be a bumpy ride.


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