Recently, Mitch McConnell was the only senator to stop two unanimous resolutions on election security:

On July 25th he said

“Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell said.

And also

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments.

McConnell also objected to that bill. 

This article by the Hill states that are certain rules in the Senate that can allow for unanimous bills:

Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object.

The issue is, this is the latest of many bills that have been rejected by the Senate in this manner, which seems to indicate that this methodology is not working when attempting to pass election security bills. Given how important several Senators see this issue, this has prompted my question


Given how important some Senators view the issue of election security, why has the unreliable method of unanimous consent been used repeatedly instead of a different, more reliable method?

1 Answer 1


Recently, Mitch McConnell was the only senator to stop two unanimous resolutions on election security:

This is not quite correct. McConnell was the Senator who objected. This does not mean that he was the only Senator that would have objected. It only means that he is the one who did. For all we know, both resolutions might have been voted down. They weren't "unanimous resolutions"; they were resolutions seeking unanimous consent that did not get it.

More importantly, McConnell is also the person who controls what legislation will be presented to the Senate for a vote. For more information, see How can the US Senate bypass the Majority Leader's agenda?

In theory, there are two ways presented to bypass McConnell (the current majority leader). In practice though, McConnell can block both of them. McConnell can block the motion to discharge by scheduling it inconveniently (say, after the current congressional session will have dissolved). McConnell can block non-germane amendments by not allowing the minority to propose amendments. One process to do this is called filling the tree.

Asking for unanimous consent at least allows the minority to propose passing the bills. They can now say that the bills were blocked by McConnell and point to a specific act for each.

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