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Following this question: Why is the Senate leader allowed to decide which bills to vote on? - how much power exactly does Senate Majority Leader have?

Let's suppose that the Senate is split 51-49 between the parties, and the majority party is split 26-25 between the hardliners and moderates. This means that the leader would be a hardliner.

Does this mean that even on an issue that has 74-26 support from the minority party and moderates, the leader can always preempt (or indefinitely postpone) voting, and there is nothing that 74 supporting senators can do?

P.S. I'm looking for any possible mechanism to overrule Senate Majority Leader, not the only ones coming from the office of Vice President.

  • Possible duplicate of Can the Vice President force the Senate to vote on something? – grovkin Jan 29 at 20:53
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    @grovkin related for sure, bit imho not giving the answer to my question. – Alexander Jan 29 at 20:57
  • The titles are different, but the content of the question contains the same inquiry and some of the answers to that question provide the answer to this question (that you asked) as well. Certainly the highest voted answer to that question answers this one as well. – grovkin Jan 29 at 21:02
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    @grovkin the highest voted answer provides some good information, but it does not answer the question whether senators have any mechanism to overrule the leader (apart from just sabotaging the process). – Alexander Jan 29 at 21:22
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Pretty much that's how it is. The Majority Leader sets the schedule for the Senate floor, meaning no bill the Majority Leader doesn't want to bring will get floor time for debate and voting. Majority Leaders can do this on behalf of their party, or simply because they do not wish to consider it.

For instance, it was well known that Harry Reid was permanently opposed to patent reform, despite the fact that members of his own party were the ones drafting that legislation

But last May, Leahy announced that he was shelving his patent reform bill, and insiders told me he did this at Reid's request. Reid has a close relationships with trial lawyers' groups, who opposed the bill. Plaintiffs' lawyers were concerned that the bill's "loser pays" provision — which allows winning defendants in patent cases to collect legal fees from plaintiffs — could later be expanded to apply to non-patent cases.

To your second part

Does this mean that even on an issue that has 74-26 support from the minority party and moderates, the leader can always preempt (or indefinitely postpone) voting, and there is nothing that 74 supporting senators can do?

There is something they could do: they could vote in a new Majority Leader with the minority. Of course, that means a split with the party itself, and possibly an election of a member of the minority when your party holds the majority. As such, this type of action is pretty much unheard of, especially in modern times, where party loyalty is paramount.

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