60 votes? Why have the Senate Republicans chosen to mount a filibuster to block an economic stimulus bill in the midst of the worst national economic downturn since the Great Depression?
And why hasn't one single news story (to my knowledge) pointed out that the Republicans are using an extraordinary procedural measure here? (Just saying that the bill "needs 60 votes" isn't pointing out that the Senate GOP is filibustering the bill).
The ordinary rules of the Senate require a simple majority to pass a bill -- so, out of 100 Senators, 51 votes are required. (Actually, the Dems only need 50 because the Vice President presides over the Senate and can break a tie, according to the Constitution, so if it is a 50-50 tie Joe Biden would cast the tie-breaking vote for the Democratic position).
The 60-vote requirement only applies if the minority (here, the Republicans) filibuster. They used to have to stand there and continue the debate without a break, refusing to yield the floor to a member of the opposition, and "talk it to death" -- i.e., hold the floor in debate until the majority gave up. The only way to cut off debate was by a motion (called a "cloture motion," to close debate) that required 60 votes to pass. Some years ago, however, the Senate streamlined its procedures to do away with the requirement for members to actually stand on the Senate floor and talk a bill to death. Now, the minority party only needs to announce its intention to invoke the 60-vote supermajority required to break a filibuster, and the majority party must then pass a cloture motion with 60 votes.
All of this is understood by the Senators (and the political reporters who regularly cover the Hill), but it is still an extraordinary procedure. Normally, only fifty votes are required to pass a bill in the Senate.
So why aren't any of the news stories even bothering to mention that the reason that 60 votes are required to pass this bill is because the Senate Republicans invoked the extraordinary 60-vote requirement for this bill?
The Senate GOP invoked that extraordinary requirement for an economic stimulus bill in the midst of the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression. That certainly seems to me like a fact worthy of note in the coverage.
Our so-called "liberal media" at work.