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Without a record of who was present, in either the Senate or the House.
by gk (gk) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 02:57:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, because "passing by unanimous consent" means (if I remember Roberts's Rules of Order properly) that the speaker asks "is there any objection to unanimous consent?" and, if there isn't, the motion is not put to a vote.

But you would expect there to have been a quorum and the minutes of the session to record who was present, wouldn't you?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 04:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There has to be a quorum in the chamber for the Senate to be in session.  I don't think there has to be a quorum in the chamber to pass legislation.  I know a Quorum Call is a standard tactic when someone wants to be a PITA, for some reason, and drag everybody from whatever it was they were doing into the chamber to prove there is a quorum "present."  

So, I'd say as long as nobody questioned it and under Unanimous Consent it was passed under the Rules of the Senate.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 05:06:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You would think in the current climate it would be impossible for anything to pass by unanimous consent. However, you would be wrong. It is very revealing that it's something such as this that can pass by unanimous consent.

It is also revealing of the skin-deep support for this measure that Obama vetoed this and the Senate didn't pass it again.

So, what happened, was the motion snuck in by some bank hack, and approved by "yeah, whatever", until someone at the White House actually read it and figured it might not be such a good idea?

Also, this veto adds some nuance to Krugman's

True to form, the Obama administration's response has been to oppose any action that might upset the banks, like a temporary moratorium on foreclosures while some of the issues are resolved. Instead, it is asking the banks, very nicely, to behave better and clean up their act. I mean, that's worked so well in the past, right?


By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 16th, 2010 at 06:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has this ever happened before? Vetoing legislation that passed unanimously?
by gk (gk) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 01:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is just weird.

The legislation passes unanimously, but without an actual vote (just by "no objection to unanimous consent").

In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house, is a situation in which no one present objects to a proposal. The chair may state, for instance: "If there is no objection, the motion will be adopted. [pause] Since there is no objection, the motion is adopted" or in Westminster parliaments, "There being no objection, leave is granted." On the most routine matters, such as inserting an article into the Congressional Record, the chair may shorten this statement to four words: "Without objection, so ordered" or even to two words: "Without objection." If no member objects the motion is adopted, but if any member does declare his opposition the motion is not adopted and cannot be agreed to without a vote.
Then it gets an underhanded veto ("pocket veto")
A pocket veto is a legislative maneuver in United States federal lawmaking that allows the President to indirectly veto a bill. The U.S. Constitution requires the President to sign or veto any legislation placed on his desk within ten days (not including Sundays) while the United States Congress is in session. From the U.S. Constitution Article 1, Section 7 states:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.
If the President does not sign the bill within the required time period, the bill becomes law by default. However, the exception to this rule is if Congress adjourns before the ten days have passed and the President has not yet signed the bill. In such a case, the bill does not become law; it is effectively, if not actually, vetoed.
This is the equivalent of passive-aggressive behaviour on the part of the legislative and executive branches, presumably in response to very strong pressure from the financial sector and in strong fear of a very polarised public opinion (whatever you do you will be denounced by either the left or the right in the strongest terms, so you just do nothing).

In other words, both the Congress and the White House are scared out of their wits and doing stupid shit they are not convinced about.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Oct 17th, 2010 at 03:58:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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