Tuesday 22 May 2007


"The Senate Monday voted 69-23 on cloture for the comprehensive immigration legislation that a bipartisan group of senators has introduced after months of negotiations."

The Cloture procedure was designed to allow a super-majority of Senators to bring an end to a filibuster or delaying tactics by a single Senator or a minority of members. It limits debate - but doesn't immediately end proceedings on a matter. There are various steps which must be taken - both before and after the cloture is agreed.

A cloture motion must be signed by 16 members and presented to the presiding officer. On the second calendar day after that the motion is put to the vote - and requires three fifths of all senators (60 unless there is a vacancy).

Thirty hours of floor consideration are then allowed - a time which may be extended by a further 3/5th vote - and Senators who have used less than 10 minutes of the hour allowed to them are guaranteed up to a further 10 minutes after the 30 hours has elapsed - once that time is ended there will be the votes on any pending amendments and the underlying proposal itself.

A fuller description of the procedure and rules can be found in the Congressional Research Service paper by Walter Oleszek at: