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From the e-mail machine:

You identified Orszag's letter explaining lauding [the Independent Medicare Advisory Council]. Now IMAC is in Senate bill with the provision that no future act of Congress can remove it. Who wrote this? Is this Constitutional? Is there a precedent for legislation that cannot be undone by future act of Congress? I don't think so. Do you know?

There's no such provision for the Medicare Commission, nor would one be possible. A current Congress cannot bind a future Congress.

Update: The source of the confusion seems to be the provision stating that it is not "in order" to change a particular subsection regarding the Medicare Commission's recommendations. First, you can overturn a point of order by a three-fifths vote in the Senate. Second, there's a waiver allowing you to repeal the subsection with a three-fifths vote of the Senate. There is nothing here that cannon be undone. More to the point, the Senate cannot pass a law that a future Senate cannot repeal. There's just no way top do it.

By Ezra Klein  |  December 28, 2009; 10:46 AM ET
 
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Comments

Mr. Klein:

I urge you to read the bill carefully - or even cursorily - before offering a blithe reassurance on this topic. Using THOMAS, in less than 15 minutes I have been able to discover that such a provision DOES APPEAR to be in the bill. The bill number is HR 3590, Section 3403 provides an Independent Medicare Advisory Board, and subsection (d)(3) provides limits on Congressional consideration of Board recommendations. Subparagraph (C) of (d)(3) forbids future Congresses from considering amendments to subsection (d):

(3) LIMITATION ON CHANGES TO THE BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS-

`(A) IN GENERAL- It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, or amendment, pursuant to this subsection or conference report thereon, that fails to satisfy the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(B) LIMITATION ON CHANGES TO THE BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS IN OTHER LEGISLATION- It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report (other than pursuant to this section) that would repeal or otherwise change the recommendations of the Board if that change would fail to satisfy the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(C) LIMITATION ON CHANGES TO THIS SUBSECTION- It shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.

`(D) WAIVER- This paragraph may be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn.

`(E) APPEALS- An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required in the Senate to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this paragraph.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I did read it. The portion you point out shows pretty clearly that three-fifths of the Senate can waive or suspend the provision. And creating a point of order against repeal is not the same as, or similar to, preventing its removal. The procedure on a point of order is that any senator can appeal and the appeal can be sustained by a three-fifths vote. In other words, you'd need 60 votes to remove IMAC, but then, you need 60 votes to do anything.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | December 28, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The good news is that Klein's conclusion -- that one Congress cannot bind a future Congress -- is correct: what some might call bad news is that many "sounds good" provisions in health care reform are, in practice, of no force or effect.

To illustrate the point that Congress is not bound by a principle of stare decisis -- and is not bound by statute -- consider that the Senate had to knowingly violate the Unfunded Mandates Act in order to pass its health care reform bill.

Posted by: rmgregory | December 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Subsection (d)(4)provides expedited procedure for consideration of Board recommendations. Subsection (d)(5) says that the subsection is "as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives" under the Constitution. OK...but the Senate's rules can only be changed by a two thirds vote of the Senate. Very interesting stuff.

`(4) EXPEDITED PROCEDURE-

`(A) CONSIDERATION- A motion to proceed to the consideration of the bill in the Senate is not debatable.

`(B) AMENDMENT-

`(i) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment to a bill under this section shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(ii) GERMANE- No amendment that is not germane to the provisions of such bill shall be received.

`(iii) ADDITIONAL TIME- The leaders, or either of them, may, from the time under their control on the passage of the bill, allot additional time to any Senator during the consideration of any amendment, debatable motion, or appeal.

`(iv) AMENDMENT NOT IN ORDER- It shall not be in order to consider an amendment that would cause the bill to result in a net reduction in total Medicare program spending in the implementation year that is less than the applicable savings target established under subsection (c)(7)(B) for such implementation year.

`(v) WAIVER AND APPEALS- This paragraph may be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required in the Senate to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

`(C) CONSIDERATION BY THE OTHER HOUSE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- The expedited procedures provided in this subsection for the consideration of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not apply to such a bill that is received by one House from the other House if such a bill was not introduced in the receiving House.

`(ii) BEFORE PASSAGE- If a bill that is introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after introduction but before disposition of such a bill in the receiving House, then the following shall apply:

`(I) The receiving House shall consider the bill introduced in that House through all stages of consideration up to, but not including, passage.

`(II) The question on passage shall be put on the bill of the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iii) AFTER PASSAGE- If a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after such a bill is passed by the receiving House, then the vote on passage of the bill that originates in the receiving House shall be considered to be the vote on passage of the bill received from the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iv) DISPOSITION- Upon disposition of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) that is received by one House from the other House, it shall no longer be in order to consider the bill that originates in the receiving House.

`(v) LIMITATION- Clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) shall apply only to a bill received by one House from the other House if the bill--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(D) SENATE LIMITS ON DEBATE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- In the Senate, consideration of the bill and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith shall not exceed a total of 30 hours, which shall be divided equally between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(ii) MOTION TO FURTHER LIMIT DEBATE- A motion to further limit debate on the bill is in order and is not debatable.

`(iii) MOTION OR APPEAL- Any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 1 hour, to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal.

`(iv) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 30 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all amendments not then pending before the Senate at that time and to the exclusion of all motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(E) CONSIDERATION IN CONFERENCE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- Consideration in the Senate and the House of Representatives on the conference report or any messages between Houses shall be limited to 10 hours, equally divided and controlled by the majority and minority leaders of the Senate or their designees and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House of Representatives or their designees.

`(ii) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment under this subparagraph shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(iii) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 10 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all motions not then pending before the Senate at that time or necessary to resolve the differences between the Houses and to the exclusion of all other motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(iv) LIMITATION- Clauses (i) through (iii) shall only apply to a conference report, message or the amendments thereto if the conference report, message, or an amendment thereto--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(F) VETO- If the President vetoes the bill debate on a veto message in the Senate under this subsection shall be 1 hour equally divided between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(5) RULES OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- This subsection and subsection (f)(2) are enacted by Congress--

`(A) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and is deemed to be part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of bill under this section, and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and

`(B) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as they relate to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Subsection (d)(4)provides expedited procedure for consideration of Board recommendations. Subsection (d)(5) says that the subsection is "as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives" under the Constitution. OK...but the Senate's rules can only be changed by a two thirds vote of the Senate. Very interesting stuff.

`(4) EXPEDITED PROCEDURE-

`(A) CONSIDERATION- A motion to proceed to the consideration of the bill in the Senate is not debatable.

`(B) AMENDMENT-

`(i) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment to a bill under this section shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(ii) GERMANE- No amendment that is not germane to the provisions of such bill shall be received.

`(iii) ADDITIONAL TIME- The leaders, or either of them, may, from the time under their control on the passage of the bill, allot additional time to any Senator during the consideration of any amendment, debatable motion, or appeal.

`(iv) AMENDMENT NOT IN ORDER- It shall not be in order to consider an amendment that would cause the bill to result in a net reduction in total Medicare program spending in the implementation year that is less than the applicable savings target established under subsection (c)(7)(B) for such implementation year.

`(v) WAIVER AND APPEALS- This paragraph may be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required in the Senate to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

`(C) CONSIDERATION BY THE OTHER HOUSE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- The expedited procedures provided in this subsection for the consideration of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not apply to such a bill that is received by one House from the other House if such a bill was not introduced in the receiving House.

`(ii) BEFORE PASSAGE- If a bill that is introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after introduction but before disposition of such a bill in the receiving House, then the following shall apply:

`(I) The receiving House shall consider the bill introduced in that House through all stages of consideration up to, but not including, passage.

`(II) The question on passage shall be put on the bill of the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iii) AFTER PASSAGE- If a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after such a bill is passed by the receiving House, then the vote on passage of the bill that originates in the receiving House shall be considered to be the vote on passage of the bill received from the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iv) DISPOSITION- Upon disposition of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) that is received by one House from the other House, it shall no longer be in order to consider the bill that originates in the receiving House.

`(v) LIMITATION- Clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) shall apply only to a bill received by one House from the other House if the bill--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(D) SENATE LIMITS ON DEBATE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- In the Senate, consideration of the bill and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith shall not exceed a total of 30 hours, which shall be divided equally between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(ii) MOTION TO FURTHER LIMIT DEBATE- A motion to further limit debate on the bill is in order and is not debatable.

`(iii) MOTION OR APPEAL- Any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 1 hour, to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal.

`(iv) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 30 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all amendments not then pending before the Senate at that time and to the exclusion of all motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(E) CONSIDERATION IN CONFERENCE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- Consideration in the Senate and the House of Representatives on the conference report or any messages between Houses shall be limited to 10 hours, equally divided and controlled by the majority and minority leaders of the Senate or their designees and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House of Representatives or their designees.

`(ii) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment under this subparagraph shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(iii) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 10 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all motions not then pending before the Senate at that time or necessary to resolve the differences between the Houses and to the exclusion of all other motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(iv) LIMITATION- Clauses (i) through (iii) shall only apply to a conference report, message or the amendments thereto if the conference report, message, or an amendment thereto--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(F) VETO- If the President vetoes the bill debate on a veto message in the Senate under this subsection shall be 1 hour equally divided between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(5) RULES OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- This subsection and subsection (f)(2) are enacted by Congress--

`(A) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and is deemed to be part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of bill under this section, and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and

`(B) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as they relate to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Subsection (d)(4)provides expedited procedure for consideration of Board recommendations. Subsection (d)(5) says that the subsection is "as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives" under the Constitution. OK...but the Senate's rules can only be changed by a two thirds vote of the Senate. Very interesting stuff.

`(4) EXPEDITED PROCEDURE-

`(A) CONSIDERATION- A motion to proceed to the consideration of the bill in the Senate is not debatable.

`(B) AMENDMENT-

`(i) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment to a bill under this section shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(ii) GERMANE- No amendment that is not germane to the provisions of such bill shall be received.

`(iii) ADDITIONAL TIME- The leaders, or either of them, may, from the time under their control on the passage of the bill, allot additional time to any Senator during the consideration of any amendment, debatable motion, or appeal.

`(iv) AMENDMENT NOT IN ORDER- It shall not be in order to consider an amendment that would cause the bill to result in a net reduction in total Medicare program spending in the implementation year that is less than the applicable savings target established under subsection (c)(7)(B) for such implementation year.

`(v) WAIVER AND APPEALS- This paragraph may be waived or suspended in the Senate only by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn. An affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members of the Senate, duly chosen and sworn, shall be required in the Senate to sustain an appeal of the ruling of the Chair on a point of order raised under this section.

`(C) CONSIDERATION BY THE OTHER HOUSE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- The expedited procedures provided in this subsection for the consideration of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not apply to such a bill that is received by one House from the other House if such a bill was not introduced in the receiving House.

`(ii) BEFORE PASSAGE- If a bill that is introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after introduction but before disposition of such a bill in the receiving House, then the following shall apply:

`(I) The receiving House shall consider the bill introduced in that House through all stages of consideration up to, but not including, passage.

`(II) The question on passage shall be put on the bill of the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iii) AFTER PASSAGE- If a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) is received by one House from the other House, after such a bill is passed by the receiving House, then the vote on passage of the bill that originates in the receiving House shall be considered to be the vote on passage of the bill received from the other House as amended by the language of the receiving House.

`(iv) DISPOSITION- Upon disposition of a bill introduced pursuant to paragraph (1) that is received by one House from the other House, it shall no longer be in order to consider the bill that originates in the receiving House.

`(v) LIMITATION- Clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) shall apply only to a bill received by one House from the other House if the bill--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(D) SENATE LIMITS ON DEBATE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- In the Senate, consideration of the bill and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith shall not exceed a total of 30 hours, which shall be divided equally between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(ii) MOTION TO FURTHER LIMIT DEBATE- A motion to further limit debate on the bill is in order and is not debatable.

`(iii) MOTION OR APPEAL- Any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 1 hour, to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal.

`(iv) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 30 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all amendments not then pending before the Senate at that time and to the exclusion of all motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(E) CONSIDERATION IN CONFERENCE-

`(i) IN GENERAL- Consideration in the Senate and the House of Representatives on the conference report or any messages between Houses shall be limited to 10 hours, equally divided and controlled by the majority and minority leaders of the Senate or their designees and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the minority leader of the House of Representatives or their designees.

`(ii) TIME LIMITATION- Debate in the Senate on any amendment under this subparagraph shall be limited to 1 hour, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, and debate on any amendment to an amendment, debatable motion, or appeal shall be limited to 30 minutes, to be equally divided between, and controlled by, the mover and the manager of the bill, except that in the event the manager of the bill is in favor of any such amendment, motion, or appeal, the time in opposition thereto shall be controlled by the minority leader or such leader's designee.

`(iii) FINAL DISPOSITION- After 10 hours of consideration, the Senate shall proceed, without any further debate on any question, to vote on the final disposition thereof to the exclusion of all motions not then pending before the Senate at that time or necessary to resolve the differences between the Houses and to the exclusion of all other motions, except a motion to table, or to reconsider and one quorum call on demand to establish the presence of a quorum (and motions required to establish a quorum) immediately before the final vote begins.

`(iv) LIMITATION- Clauses (i) through (iii) shall only apply to a conference report, message or the amendments thereto if the conference report, message, or an amendment thereto--

`(I) is related only to the program under this title; and

`(II) satisfies the requirements of subparagraphs (A)(i) and (C) of subsection (c)(2).

`(F) VETO- If the President vetoes the bill debate on a veto message in the Senate under this subsection shall be 1 hour equally divided between the majority and minority leaders or their designees.

`(5) RULES OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES- This subsection and subsection (f)(2) are enacted by Congress--

`(A) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and is deemed to be part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of bill under this section, and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and

`(B) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as they relate to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the fact that a 60 vote requirement isn't the same as making something "permanent," a future Senate could always pass a new law that repeals the provision that governs repeal of the IMAC provision (though I'm not familiar enough with Senate rules to know under what kind of "order" such a law would proceed).

Posted by: dasimon | December 28, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

On Karl Rove's WhiteBoard “Special Provisions” http://tinyurl.com/y9kkp5q

Posted by: SisterRosetta | December 28, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein, I apologize for the snark and my own hasty oversimplification, but there is as far as I can tell, constitutionally questionable languagehere.

"You need 60 votes to do anything" is, as you have noted, a current *de facto* reality, but AFAIK this creates new statutory territory by requiring an absolute three fifths majority for final passage.

Whether such a statute is constitutional is debatable. When the House in 1995 enacted an internal rule requiring a three fifths majority to change income tax rates, there was a fuss among constitutional scholars (still looking for a decent site - Bruce Ackerman wrote about it).

Interestingly, one defense of the House rule has been that the Constitution allows each House to make its own rules defining "passage" of legislation.

If that interpretation holds, then this subsection (d) might not be constitutional. Subsection (d)(5) says that the provision is "an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, and is deemed to be part of the rules of each House."

So the bill changes the rules of the Senate. OK...but the current rules of the Senate say that the rules can only be changed by a two thirds vote. So if each House has the broad rulemaking authority to define "passage," as conservative defenders of the 1995 House rule say, then this provision tramps on the Senate's constitutional right to set its own rules - including how those rules are to be changed.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Here is a link to an open letter (preview) from constitutional scholars calling into question the House's 1995 enactment of an internal rule allowing the income tax rate to be increased only upon a three fifths vote:

http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5000285996

This subsection (d) of Section 3402 of the Senate HCR bill is even more ambitious: it enacts a statute changing the rules of the House and the Senate (see (d)(5)), even though the Senate's rules can be changed by a two thirds vote. And it seems that final passage - not just cloture - on a repeal of the subsection would require a three-fifths majority of the Senate.

Posted by: coolbluereason | December 28, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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