Jay Cost: What Does 60 Votes Mean in the US Senate?


Franken should be one of the most liberal members of the Senate. This helps move the chamber to the left. Additionally, when all Democratic senators are unified against all Republican senators on a particular issue – 60 votes means there is nothing the GOP can do. However, considering the moderates in both caucuses – Collins, Landrieu, Nelson, Snowe, Specter, etc. – I think the number of such cases will be relatively small. That’s why I suggested procedural stuff that favors one party over the other. On climate change or health care – if they cannot write a bill that pleases Nelson and Landrieu, they’ll have 58 votes, not 60. Don’t expect them to toe the line, if toeing the line means voting against their constituents and putting their reelection at risk.

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