Rules on Withdrawing an Amendment - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Rules on Withdrawing an Amendment

Yesterday, I wrote about how Senate Republicans were incensed that the parliamentarian allowed Sen. Bernie Sanders to cut off the reading of his single-payer proposal, and today a reader from Dallas, Texas passes along further evidence to support their complaint.

By way of background, yesterday, Sen. Tom Coburn forced the reading of Sanders 767 page amendment, but three hours into reading of the amendment, which was on pace to take more than 12 hours and wipe out an entire legislative day, Sanders withrew the amendment. This stopped the reading, and allowed Democrats to get on with their business.

The problem is that when an amendment is introduced, it has to be read on the Senate floor unless all Senators agree to cut off the reading. In Senate jargon, this is granting “unanimous consent.”

Today, a reader noted that on page 119 of Riddick’s Senate Procedure, it says that “the Senator offering the amendment must have the floor in order to withdraw the amendment.”

But at the time he withdrew the amendment, Sanders didn’t have the floor. The only way to regain the floor was to dispense with the reading of the bill, which again, calls for unanimous consent.

In non-Senate jargon, it appears that Republicans were in fact robbed. But sort of like complaining about a bad call by the ref after the game is already over, there’s not much they can do about it.

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