NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2008--Continued -- (Senate - July 10, 2007)
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Mr. McCONNELL. Reserving the right to object, Mr. President, we have been here before. Every Iraq amendment we have voted on this year--and there have been numerous amendments--in fact, I have sort of lost track of how many we have had--every single one of them, as most things in the Senate that are remotely controversial, requires 60 votes. I believe I am correct in saying that every Iraq amendment we have voted on this year, no matter what the underlying bill was to which the amendment was being offered, was in a 60-vote contest.
What we have frequently done is simply negotiated an agreement to have the 60 votes we know we are going to have anyway, and the reason for that is--well, there are several reasons. No. 1, if a cloture vote were invoked, it would further delay consideration of the bill because potentially 30 more hours could be used postcloture on an amendment. So what we have done, in a rational response to the nature of the Senate in this era, is to negotiate 60-vote votes.
We are perfectly happy to enter into an agreement, as I suggested yesterday, for a vote on the Webb amendment and the alternative that we would have, the Graham amendment, by consent, two 60-vote requirements. That is not unusual in the Senate; it is just common practice in the Senate, certainly for as long as I have been here. So, therefore, I object.
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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, Senator McCain is here and will be seeking recognition momentarily, but let me suggest that this is not the most efficient way to move forward with the bill. We have been down this path before on virtually every measure that comes before the Senate. The most expeditious way to move forward is by agreement, not by the filing of cloture.
Having said that, I hope that once it is clear cloture is not going to be invoked, we can get back to the normal way we handle debate on these matters and therefore have a better chance of processing this very important bill and moving it toward passage.
I don't know if my friend from Arizona wanted to ask a question or wanted to get recognition.