February 3rd, 2010
03:41 PM ET
11 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Senate cloture votes


Were there more cloture votes in the Senate last year than in all of the 1950s and 1960s combined? (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

(CNN) - President Barack Obama Wednesday accused Republicans of packing "20 years of obstruction into one." Speaking to Senate Democrats, he declared, "You had to cast more votes to break filibusters last year than in the entire 1950s and '60s combined."

Fact Check: Were there more cloture votes in the Senate last year than in all of the 1950s and 1960s combined?

- A vote to end filibuster debate is called a cloture vote. From the 81st Congress (1949-1950) through the 91st Congress (1969-1970), there were a total of 30 votes on cloture. There were no more than seven cloture votes in any single session during those years.

- Starting with the 92nd Congress (1971-72), cloture votes became more frequent. Part of that can be explained by the fact that the Senate changed the required majority in 1975, making it easier to induce cloture.

- The 110th Congress (2007-2008) is the record-holder so far: There were 112 votes on cloture during that two-year period.

- So far, the 11th Congress (2009-2010) has held 41 cloture votes, 39 of them last year, two more this year.

Bottom Line: President Obama is correct. There were 39 cloture votes last year, nine more than the combined total for 1949-1970.

Filed under: Fact Check • Popular Posts • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Obama and his cabinet equate to crooks!

    This is irrelevant! The point is if they disagree with him then Obama still wants them to go along with him. Is he forgetting why we have the procedures in place. He stands in his speech yesterday and lies through his teeth. Obama is a bold face lier!

    February 3, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Vic of New York

    Try to convince some brain-dead racist Republican that thier Party is killing our country and see what they have to say about it: "You're wong!", "We dont' care!", "We trust the serpent of the Garden of Eden (Fox News) more!"

    The French had it right, guillotine the Right!

    February 3, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Brian from NJ

    Conveniently left out of this article, and Obama's usual spin and attacks, is the fact that before 1975 cloture required 67 votes to end debate... and that cloture votes are often held now to do head counts... not every cloture vote is to break a filibuster... often the simple threat of a filibuster invokes cloture and when there is a super majority a Senate leader will invoke this to get head counts and force a position... a cloture vote is NOT always associated with a filibuster as it was in the old days, that simple.

    February 3, 2010 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. all the news that's fit to omit

    Great job of allowing the gutless fraud to get away with a FALSE TALKING POINT.

    "Typical" of this POS, 2007-2008 there were 112, WHO did it BACK THEN because a Republican was in charge????


    Anyone, Bueller, Bueller?

    Report it and ANALYZE IT CNN, there is a thing called journalistic integrity or there USED TO BE.

    February 3, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    Those times were different, a whole lot of different. Is fair to say that blue collar jobs and conservatism among Dems and GOP were the majority in selective processing. Now, on the other hand, "change" is more of an illusion of facts than the reality it brings. I sure hope the Prez understands that this will be on his head, his credibility and efforts when deciding what he wants done first or not.

    Who cares about cloture votes, is about getting things done. Because this stimulis bill he singed, is already intact with him whether he likes it or not, and I promise you it will be bad when the mid term elections come. That's what he has to understand.

    He is slow, and since you morons have no choice but listen to me(because I said so). Enjoy this.

    "Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it."-Joe Clark

    I know lots of quotes, and if you don't like it, oh well!!

    February 3, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. What???

    Oh no...wait for the GOP twits to say " ...what? the Dems had the Majority and we (Rethugs) couldn't stop anything"

    Maybe if you guys can actually read, you will see that the legislative process allows for filibuster votes. Which I might had have been set to a new all time high by this band of Obstructionists, GOP dunderheads. If nothing else, laws can't get passed until the whiners and crybaby, paid-off lobbyist, party before country Rethuglicans get their say.

    February 3, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. rob10001

    Democracy now! Americans have been robbed of our majority vote democracy by Republican bureaucrats who are bullying Congress. President Obama has called them out and so should we, by supporting him and all Democrats who run for Congress in 2010. The press and bloggers have accepted this filibuster tyranny too quickly and easily, and handled it too lightly. It's time we stand up to these Republican protectors of the rich and powerful, and demand that they end their do-nothing obstructionist take over of our constitutional right of majority rule. Unless we band together and we regain the guts to be real Americans again, and stop these Republican gamers of our traditional government processes, we soon lose our long cherished system of majority rule. Let's write to them and call them all, and demand an end this filibuster tyranny. With President Obama on the front lines fighting with us we will not end the battle until we defeat the Republican manipulators of freedom, and win American Democracy back.

    February 3, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Molly Weasley

    So why hasn't CNN and the rest of the media (except of course for the Fake News Channel) done these stories already? Because it would require - you know - actual REPORTING by your staff?

    February 3, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Robert

    It's time to do away with the filibuster.... the abuse of it is keeping anything from getting done.. It only allows the opposition party to prevent the majority party from accomplishing it's agenda, thus thwarting the will of the voters who voted in the majority.

    February 3, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. JDD

    First comment: That is the oddest statistic I've heard in a long time. Why choose that particular time period, other than to make the numbers work out? Really – the 1950s-1960s?

    Second point of course bears repeating time and time again: If the legislation being presented for a vote is not being openly debated, and a move is being made to vote on it before such public discussion takes place, (a cloture vote)then a filibuster (essentially preventing the door from being closed) is the correct action to take by the minority party.

    The 60 votes sought to "end the filibuster" are often inacurately – and politically – worded as being a vote to "end debate." Unfortunately, often there has been no debate, and the filibuster against a cloture vote is meant to actually force public debate to begin.

    February 3, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    We need to go back to the old way...where some jerk has to stand there reading the phone book while Rome burns...all while wearing manpampers because no bathroom break is allowed and they have to keep talking. Let's see how petulantly loudmouthed the GOP can behave under those conditions.

    February 3, 2010 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Besides...what I wouldn't give to see McConnell or one of these other wankers actually proving me right by literally wetting his pants.

    February 3, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Ron

    Many liberals here are certainly correct – the Republican Party is definitely the party of "Know". We "know" when the Democrat Party is trying to initiate policy and bills that will be catastrophic to our economy and society. The Dems cannot simply state "agree with us or we will call you obstructionists". I have a better idea – How about simply letting us be part of the process? Give and take. Discussion and debate. Sometimes it is the simple ideas that make the most sense. Now the Dems are scrambling because the people finally realize the catastrophe they voted for and many are simply waiting for November. Amazingly after the election in 2008 if the Dems had any sense of "moderation" they probably would have had power for 10 or 15 years (or more). Now they will have their wings clipped in 2010 and be back in the minority by 2012. I can only say "thank you" for proving so quicly to the american people what a mess you are.

    February 3, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  14. Kevin, Las Vegas

    If the Democratic president and the Democratic majority in Congress wanted to pass a law giving a raise only to Retardican congressmen, the Retardicans would still say no. That's what they do.

    February 3, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Just The Facts Please

    Why the delay and fake drama in this article CNN? Right after you poised the question ... "Were there more cloture votes in the Senate last year than in all of the 1950s and 1960s combined?"

    You should have said .... "YES, President Obama is correct." Then you could launch into your wasteful, lawyer-like elucidation.

    We need to get back to basics in this country. Man up, ANSWER THE QUESTION FIRST, then try to hold our attention with your superflous information.

    We need to also see this from those in the media and in politics. Answer the question YES or NO 1st.

    February 3, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    It's a part of the legislative process, deal with it. Both sides had used their share when they wanted to. Stop crying about the process and start fixing the problems in this country.

    February 3, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Josiah

    CNN, where were your fact checks during the lies of the Bush administration that Bankrupted America – and where are your fact checks in regard to the American Taliban the Republicons lame assertions that they're being left out when everyone not brainwashed with lies by Fox knows that for at least 6.5 years of Bushiepoo the Democrats were iced out cold on all fronts – the media didn't even cover them – or will all these Fact Checks reveal the Bushie and Crew dictatorship threatened to crush any media outlet that dare speak any disagreement and other cowering weak concessions submissive to Cheney's iron grip. – Where are the fact checks showing that we overspent in the Billions for a war, where a sweat-heart deal funneled all cash to Cheney's friends at Haliburton – who in response promptly moved their entire company to the middle east; Dubai – do we even get taxes from them? – and ultimately where are the fact checks stating the obvious – society, America and the world has progressed far enough that we don't even need this entirely outdated system of electing "representatives" to do the people's business – with technology today every citizen could vote via internet or even over cable TV for any proposition up for discussion in the government – that's the way to get people heard – come on America aren't you tired of this total joke of electing representatives – a handful – to represent hundreds of thousands or millions – what a slight of hand – right in front of our face and held together with hegemony (the perceived idea that all that is should be simply because it is and was and is presented as the only way) – Think Martin Luther and the Catholic Church – we don't need someone between us and our leader – we can speak for ourselves – directly to the one is charge – let's get some real change and think outside the box – sure I can hear all the cries that this would break the outdated and irrelevant Constitution – perhaps it's time for a new one – viva la revolution!

    February 3, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Average American

    Get it through your thick skulls right wing nuts...The President is Correct! The republican party would rather hold everything up – no economic recovery, no health care, no appointments, nothing... to try to score political points. There is no better proof that the GOP is the party of NO!

    Try to spend a week at your job saying no to everything. You'd be fired so fast. We need to make sure every republican up for reelection is fired in November!

    February 3, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. Showtime - Tampa

    @ What??? –

    you stated "Which I might had have been set to a new all time high by this band of Obstructionists, GOP dunderheads. "

    hahahhah it is you that can't read...this congress is on pass to be only 2/3's of the prior congress with cloture votes and yet you try to claim an all time high....it only takes 60 votes for cloture, and the Dems had it....the Republicans couldn't stop any vote ...NOT ONE....it was fractures in the dems due to BHO's, Pelosi's and Reid's FAR LEFT agenda that prevented the Dems from coming to agreement....so you are the one that actually needs to learn to read before you lecture others....hahahaha

    February 3, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Mickey

    Nothing like republicans letting facts get in the way of propaganda.

    Republican Party: The new domestic terrorists.

    February 3, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Dick Williams

    Statistically correct, but how honest or relevant is it to compare this congress with the 50's and 60's? Compare it to the last two years of the Bush admin. when there were 112 votes for closure. Certainly that's relevant.

    February 3, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Average American

    The truth hurts....

    February 3, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. D.

    The president did not lie, BUT he chose his example very very carefully. The right one may be 2008 to compare and not prehistorical data. But, let Obama be Obama, always finding the nice thing to say and the convenient talking, but where are the actions?

    February 3, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    Why even bother presenting facts CNN? The Right-wingers are a bunch of greedy, racist, hateful, fear-mongering, homophobes, who don't have the intellectual capacity to understand anything more than the hot garbage cluster-FOX News spoon feeds them.

    February 3, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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