Senate debt ceiling vote protocol sparks controversy
February 13th, 2014
10:46 PM ET
8 years ago

Senate debt ceiling vote protocol sparks controversy

(CNN) - As votes were tallied Wednesday in a dramatic Senate vote to move ahead with the debt ceiling bill, some senators' votes were not read aloud by the clerks, breaking from the usual protocol of disclosing each senator's vote in real time.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Senate clerks were asked not to read the names, so Republicans could feel more free to vote or change their votes as some GOP leaders sought to bring enough senators on board to end Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster that threatened to lead to a politically damaging fight over raising the debt limit.

"After the vote began, it was quickly clear that Republican leaders were struggling to deliver enough votes to clear the 60-vote hurdle upon which they had insisted instead of a simple majority, and a potentially catastrophic default suddenly seemed possible," Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement.

"At Senate Republicans' request, the clerk did not call the names during the vote to make it easier for Republican leaders to convince their members to switch their votes."

CNN was not able to get a response from Senate Republicans to confirm they had requested the names not be read out loud.​

Many of those same Republicans ended up voting against the bill in the end, but this time their names were read aloud so they could be on the record voting against raising the debt ceiling.

The previous vote was simply a vote to move ahead to the final vote. It could easily be used by political opponents in ads to say the Republican senator voted "aye" on a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

In fact, a primary challenger running against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who's up for re-election this year, immediately released a statement criticizing McConnell for voting in favor of moving ahead with the bill–even though McConnell voted against raising the debt ceiling in the end.

Reporters filed transparency complaints with Reid's office, but his spokesman said "such a request is consistent with Senate rules."

CNN's Ted Barrett and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Debt • Senate
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. J.V.Hodgson

    storm in a teacup and a big fussy article about nothing important.

    February 13, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    When the voters see the GOP incompetents and stupidity for ALL TO SEE, WHY would ANYBODY vote for these GOP fools in November ????? They need to LOSE the house for the good of America and all of us

    February 14, 2014 05:23 am at 5:23 am |

    Sharon Angle sprinting away from reporters comes to mind. The Guns Over People tea potty can run but they can't hide from the American people.

    February 14, 2014 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  4. Michael MN

    Sorry state of America when people have to hide how they voted to please the nut jobs in there own party

    February 14, 2014 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Senate Republicans are now afraid to have the bipartisan bill from the house brought to a vote? They are afraid to pay the bills they have already approved, the republicans sit in fear of crazy man Cruz and the baggers. Can you imagine any republican standing up to a foreign threat, when they act like chickens in the senate? Sniveling cowards.

    February 14, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    The bar for republican achievement is so low, they can now crawl over it. No ideas to help people, just the usual hate, conspiracy theories, arrogance, and lawlessness.

    February 14, 2014 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The vote was taken that way to give advantage to the Dems. Plain and simple.

    February 14, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |