What to Expect When You're Expecting a Reconciliation Bill

What to Expect When You're Expecting a Reconciliation Bill
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) planning to try to begin debate on the Republican health care bill Tuesday, lots of eyes will be on the chamber—a place famous for its complicated rules and jargon. Want to understand what's happening? Here are four things you might see—and why they matter.

Motion to proceed

When the Senate wants to bring an item up for debate on the floor, it generally does so in one of two ways. The first involves the agreement of all 100 senators to start considering the bill. The second involves a senator (usually the Majority Leader) asking for permission to move on to debating a particular measure; this is known as “offering a motion to proceed.” On most legislation, the motion to proceed can be filibustered; in the 114th Congress, for example, 34 of the 128 cloture motions filed were on motions to proceed.

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