Arcane Senate Rule Helps Preserve Antiquated Senate Practice

from the how-a-bill-becomes-a-law dept

Back in February, we pointed to a story about the absurd system that Senators use to disclose their campaign contributions. Unlike their counterparts in the House, Senators don’t have to file their contributions electronically, and instead file them using a tortuous process that involves needless photocopying and hand entry of the data. Not only is this time consuming, but it also costs taxpayers $250,000 per year. That’s not a whole lot by government standards, but since it’s a total waste it’s still depressing. It looked like the Senate was all set to scrap the old system, but just as it was set to come to a vote, another arcane Senate rule came into play as Senator Lamar Alexander stood up and announced that on behalf of an anonymous Senator he would block the vote. Yes, the Senate has a rule that allows an anonymous coward, as we’d call them around here, to block any vote. So at this point it’s not clear if or when electronic disclosure will be adopted in the Senate. It’s lovely how democracy works, isn’t it?

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Comments on “Arcane Senate Rule Helps Preserve Antiquated Senate Practice”

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Solo says:

The System was designed under the assumption that the people that atteigned that high of a role in the ruling of our country would certainly be of exceptionally high moral standards.

Of course, there are rules, but they are only as effective as everyone is willing to follow them. Nobody is watching after all.

Democracy is the best we have so far. If there’s is better (short of having me as an absolute ruler) we have not found it yet.

Mark says:


Just to be clear, it’s not that anyone can just block a vote. It’s a way for someone to express that they are prepared to filibuster a bill, i.e. stall it’s passage by giving a really, really long speech. This means the senate can’t get anything else done during that period. (Once they start giving the speech they can’t take a break. The Civil Rights bill was filibustered, with some senators speaking for up to 24-straight hours and pissing in trash cans.) If it’s worth it, the other senators can force the vote and waste the necessary time, but they usually come to a compromise before that happens. Give it a couple months; I bet the bill will pass. Democracies work slow by design. Who trusts the gov’t to get things done right? We want to limit the amount of stuff they can muck up in one term 😉

MrPaladin says:

Progress and Congress

It goes to the old saying ‘Congress is the opposite of Progress’

If you want somethign done correctly, swiftly, and for the least ammount of money…. you’ll never find it in Government because they don’t treat it like its their own money…. infact they treat it like they are entitled to Tax the heck out of you and use the money on some pet project thats had a bad track record for showing results….

Phil (profile) says:

So much cluelessness, so little time

I’m sure that when you studied in high school your teachers expounded on what a wonderful democracy we were living in without ever mentioning that the United States is not governed by a democracy.

But at some point, hopefully after you got a clue about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, you should have gotten clued in on systems of government.

We live in a REPUBLIC. Not a democracy.

So, next time you go visit your old high school, drop by and tell your social studies/government teacher that hey, it’s a republic, and give them the bad news about Santa and the Easter Bunny.

But all this goes back to the basic problem, ignorance. If people don’t even know how to properly categorize the government they live under, how can we expect them to know anything about how it’s run?

And how it’s run is very poorly.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the best governments in the world. But that is a sad commentary on the rest of the world. Not a ringing endorsement of our self-aggrandizing band of do-nothing-productive legislators.

Mark says:

There are free dictionaries online...

“We live in a REPUBLIC. Not a democracy… But all this goes back to the basic problem, ignorance.”

This is unnecessarily pedantic and not even correct unless you intend on discussing the fine variations of different types of government. You should look at a dictionary before you start insulting people.

n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

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