Republicans Allow FAA Debate to Begin, Avoiding All-Night Session

Posted March 15, 2010 at 6:51pm

Senate Democrats backed down from a threat to keep the chamber in all night Monday after Republicans agreed to allow the Senate to begin work on a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill Tuesday morning.

Democrats made the threat after Republicans refused to let the Senate skip the required 30 hours of post-cloture debate and hold a final vote on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) $110 billion jobs bill Monday evening. Although that vote will still not happen for roughly 30 hours after cloture was invoked on Monday, lawmakers will be able to begin work on the FAA bill during the intervening time.

As Majority Leader, Reid has traditionally allowed Republicans to use informal agreements or a single objection to execute stalling tactics such as requiring the clock to run on cloture and post-cloture debate periods, all of which can eat up valuable legislative time.

But a group of 22 freshman and sophomore Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with Reid’s standard show of congeniality and have pushed him to force Republicans to remain on the floor for the entire 30 hours.

But following Monday’s cloture vote, Reid and McConnell agreed to the unusual arrangement to allow work to be done on the FAA bill during the 30 hours before a final vote on the jobs bill will occur.