According to this answer, only a simple majority is needed to change the Senate's rules not a supermajority.

Ordinarily, a point of order compels the Senate to follow its rules and precedents; however, the Senate may chooe to vote down the point of order. when this occurs, a new precedent is established [...]

Before this, the previous change to the cloture rule occurred in 1975, when the Senate reduced the requirement for cloture on all matters except future rules changes:

Before 1975, two-thirds of the Senators present and voting (a quorum being present) was required for cloture on all matters. In early 1975, at the beginning of the 94th Congress, Senators sought to amend the rule to make it somewhat eaiser to invoke cloture. However, some Senators feared that if this effort suceeded, that would only make it easier to amend the rule again, making cloture still easier to invoke. As a compromise, the Senate agreed to move from two-thirds of the Senators duly chose and sworn (normally, and at a maximum, 60 votes) on all matters except future rules changes, including changes in the cloture rule itself.

How many senators approved the amendment to the cloture rule in 1975? (i.e. was it 2/3rds, 3/5ths, a simple majority)

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    Almost as much as I love people who post (and then answer) questions that anyone could get the answer to in five minutes with Google. – DJClayworth Nov 28 '13 at 3:56
  • @DJClayworth - any reason YOU didn't do 5 minutes of googling and answered? – user4012 Nov 30 '13 at 14:28
  • @DVK, it is because it takes more than 5 mins of googling. I decided to look into the answer after the Nuclear Option change this year, to see if the Senators in 1975 followed their own rules. Unfortunately, it took several searches to get the correct bill number (most results were documents I had already seen that didn't mention the actual vote). Then I had to find it in the THOMAS database, whose search seems to return results that don't match (Congress sure passes a lot of fluff legislation) – user1873 Nov 30 '13 at 14:44

The amendment to the cloture rule (Rule XXII) was approved by a two-thirds supermajority, 56-27

In 1975 the Senate followed their rules in passing S.RES.4: Resolution to amend Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate. If you select All information, you will note that the resolution passed 3/7/1975:

Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #55 (56-27) (Provisions of S.Res. 93 included in passage).

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  • The "nuclear option" followed the rules of the Senate - it just followed a convoluted path through those rules, rather than the straightforward one. It's also entirely irrelevant to answering the question as asked. – Bobson Nov 26 '13 at 15:11
  • @Bobson, I disagree with that interpretation and so does Senator Reid, former senator Biden, former senator Obama, [...]. While the Senate can set a new precedent, they can only do so by not following the previous rules. Why do you think they ask the parlitarian, "what is the rule?" (I call that breaking them, you call it bypassing them potatoe=potato). Do you think it is possible to set a new precedent, by following your original agreed to rules/procedures? I can't understand the kind of tortured logic necessary to believe that. – user1873 Nov 27 '13 at 15:43
  • See my answer to your other question. The rule specifically only affected cloture votes related to changing it. The rule was changed without a cloture vote. Therefore, the rule was not "broken". It's equivalent to the SE set of rules: "You can't upvote your own question. If your question is edited enough, it becomes community wiki. You can upvote community wiki questions. Therefore, under a specific set of circumstances, you can upvote your own question without violating the rule on upvoting your own questions." – Bobson Nov 27 '13 at 17:35
  • If you want to call it "broken", you can. It certainly violates the intent of the rule and "breaks" it in the sense that it no longer has meaning. But if it truly violated the actual rule, it wouldn't have any force. I'll go edit my other answer to clarify terminology. – Bobson Nov 27 '13 at 17:38
  • Side thought: I suggest removing the bias from this answer as per your own meta suggestion. – Bobson Dec 1 '13 at 7:07

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