Immigration bill: Harry has a shenanigan
by skeptic06, Mon Jun 18, 2007 at 12:18:53 PM EDT
One of the less budgeable bills in Uncle Harry's backlog is S 1384.
But Harry is planning on another Big Push: depending on how sticky the week is for the energy bill (HR 6) on the Senate floor. According to CQ,
The legislation could be on the floor by the end of this week, with 12 Republican and 11 Democratic amendments to be considered.
That's a hell of a lot of amendments. But Harry has a cunning plan to keep control of the process: the clay pigeon amendment.
The term refers to amendments falling within Rule XV(3), which provides that any senator may call for the division of an amendment containing several propositions.
The 23 amendments due to be considered would initially be offered by Harry as a single amendment, and then Rule XV(3) would be invoked.
According to CQ, the rationale is this:
The approach ensures that each amendment would get a vote at the end of the 30 hours of post-cloture debate, according to Senate aides familiar with parliamentary procedure.
Without the clay pigeon, one of the aides said, the failure to dispose of an amendment by passage or tabling could prevent Reid from calling up and getting votes on the rest of the amendments. That would threaten the carefully negotiated deal. But under Senate rules, the component amendments are all subject to a vote once divided.
Under one scenario, Reid could bring a new version of the bill to the floor, introduce the clay pigeon amendment, have the amendment divided and then hold a cloture vote on the bill before debate and votes on the pieces of the clay pigeon.
I'm taking this under advisement - Riddick's is generally much less tractable than House Practice when it comes to extracting information, and I can't join the dots right now.
The obvious question one can ask in ignorance (my present state!) is: if this is such a great wheeze, why hasn't it become common practice?
I've not been following the passage of S 1384 at all, and have no intention of starting now; but, if the clay pigeon ruse turns out to be a winner, Uncle Harry's standing as maj leader will get marked up in many folks' books.
Update [2007-6-18 19:19:46 by skeptic06]:
The secret of the clay pigeon still eludes me.
What I don't see is the mechanism that operates in relation to the pigeon amendment by reason of it being a pigeon amendment to ensure that each and every element receives a vote.
You would expect - and, from a reading of the part of Riddick's (p31 of the PDF on the GPO site (Google it)) dealing with Rule 15 (3), it seems to be true - that, once an amendment is divided, each element is then treated like an amendment in its own right.
I thought it might have something to do with the debate on the pigeon parts taking place in postcloture debate. But I can't see anything in the cloture rules that would bear on the matter.
La lotta continua...