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I'm reading about the Senate nuclear option and am a little confused as to how the procedure works. According to Wikipedia:

"The option is invoked when the majority leader raises a point of order that only a simple majority is needed to close debate on certain matters. The presiding officer denies the point of order based on Senate rules, but the ruling of the chair is then appealed and overturned by majority vote, establishing new precedent."

If the presiding officer denies the point of order based on Senate rules (super majority), how is that ruling then overturned by simple majority?

  • Could you provide a link to the specif Wikipedia article? – hszmv Feb 15 at 13:03
  • Are Senate rules definitely set by a supermajority? – owjburnham Feb 15 at 13:53
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Because when the ruling of the chair is appealed, an immediate vote on the appeal must take place and this vote cannot be filibustered. Which means you only need 51 votes to overturn the chair's ruling, which then rewrites the Senate rule.

  • Sounds like a loophole. To my understanding, all legislation passing the Senate aside from judicial nominations still requires a supermajority. However, for some reason, the appeal of Senate rules only requires a simple majority? So theoretically, this option can be used for all business brought before the Senate. Republicans should have invoked this as opposed to allowing Trump to declare a national emergency. – user27343 Feb 15 at 19:54
  • That's why it's called the nuclear option. – pboss3010 Feb 15 at 20:19
  • Thanks. So the House doesn't have a filibuster. But the minority party in the Senate likes having it as a last resort to block things they vehemently oppose? That's why Republicans didn't invoke it for the wall? They feared being a powerless minority in the future? Instead, they're allowing the president to bypass Congress. – user27343 Feb 15 at 20:23
  • Imagine that in 2020, both Houses and the Presidency are won by the Democrats. The Republicans would very much want to stop them from enacting whatever legislation they want. I can't remember if ACA was before or after Reid's invocation, but I'm sure the Democrats are glad they could stop the "repeal Obamacare" bills from the House. – pboss3010 Feb 15 at 20:30
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    "all legislation passing the Senate aside from judicial nominations still requires a supermajority." Not true. Regular Senate votes have never required a supermajority. – A.fm. Feb 15 at 21:15

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