How is it that Mitch McConnell can block any vote in the Senate, even bipartisan ones


I’m not from the US, and while I understand the basics of the system, I don’t get the amount of power Mitch McConnell seems to have. I know that he’s the Majority Leader, so apparently he can decide which bills are discussed and voted on. But can’t he be overruled? Or can he be, but is that a no-go area for Republican senators?

In: Other


The Senate majority leader controls the Senate’s schedule. If they don’t schedule a bill to be considered, then it just languishes in Senate limbo.

The Senate minority leader can attempt to override this scheduling power by making a motion to have a bill considered. If that motion passes with a majority vote, then the minority leader gets to place the bill on the calendar.

When a bill doesn’t get scheduled that means one of three things:

1) The bill’s text is currently being negotiated.

2) The majority leader is serving as a scapegoat of sorts for a bill that isn’t popular enough to pass but which would consume a lot of the Senate’s time being debated.

3) The majority leader personally doesn’t want the bill to pass and they are more popular than the bill is.

In addition to what /u/ughhhhh420 said, the Senate is unique in the US in that it effectively requires a 60-40 majority for regular legislation to pass.

This is because if there are fewer than 60 votes for something, one of the 40+ minority can filibuster the bill. To filibuster is to “talk a bill to death”. Or when a senator goes up and refuses to yield the floor for hours upon hours and the vote fails. This can’t happen with a 60 vote majority, because there’s a rule that if 60+ senators agree, they can force the filibustering Senator to stop.

For instance, the Democrats have 47 Senators and the Republicans 53. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a few moderate Republicans to join with Democrats but only have combined 59 votes.

If this happens, the Democrats might count the (bipartisan) votes ahead of time and choose not to push through with a vote if there’s less than 60. McConnell might get the blame anyway.

simply put. The Senate Majority Leader chooses which bills everyone gets to vote on.

If he doesn’t like it, he just won’t let people vote on it.

There are ways to get around it, but they require everyone else to disagree with the Leader.

There is a subthread which few will see because its upper post was deleted (I assume by the writer). I think it’s worth looking for.