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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Elizabeth Rybicki, Coordinator
Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process

Any time the Senate is considering a question—whether that question is a bill, amendment, motion, conference report, or something else—a Senator who has the floor can “ask for the yeas and nays” or a roll call vote on that question. This is the constitutional right of any Senator, and no other lawmaker can object to the request. If such a request is supported by 10 other Senators (for a total of 11) this usually requires the Senate to conduct a roll call vote (also called a vote by “the yeas and nays”) to decide the question it is considering. The Senate can agree to order a roll call vote on a question at any time when it is debating that question. Ordering the yeas and nays, however, does not determine when that vote will take place.

The authority for Senators to obtain roll call votes derives from Article I, Section 5, clause 3 of the Constitution, which states that “the yeas and nays of the members of either house on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the Journal.” The Constitution also provides that “a majority of each [house] shall constitute a quorum to do business.” Therefore, “one fifth of those present” to order the yeas and nays must be one-fifth of at least 51 Senators (or at least 11 Senators), which is the minimal majority required to satisfy the constitutional quorum requirement. A smaller number of Senators cannot order a roll call vote, even by unanimous consent, because the Senate may not set aside any constitutional requirement
governing its proceedings.

Date of Report: September 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: 95-1013
Price: $29.95

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95-1013.pdf   to use the SECURE SHOPPING CART


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