What is Rule 22?

Rule 22—for which this American politics blog is named—is a standing rule of the United States Senate most commonly associated with the filibuster. More specifically, it is the rule which establishes the parameters for ending debate in the Senate.

In Congress, Standing rules are the collection of procedures that govern the day-to-day operation of a legislative body.  Rule 22 (written Rule XXII) is best known as the procedure by which a group of senators can end debate on the Senate floor.  Adopted in 1917, Rule 22 initially set the minimum requirement for ending debate at 2/3rds of those “present and voting.”  When debate is stopped in this manner it is known formally as enacting “cloture.”  In 1975 the Senate modified the cloture requirement, lowering the number of senators needed to end debate to 3/5ths of those “duly chosen and sworn” (60 under normal conditions).  Because enacting cloture is the only way to stop a filibuster, and because the minority party almost always hasvotes to sustain a filibuster, Rule 22 is widely considered the most important rule in either the House or Senate.

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