From a Bloomberg article on December 28, 2020:

The House is set to vote Monday to replace the $600 stimulus payments in the newly enacted pandemic relief law with the $2,000 President Donald Trump demanded [...] The bill would need two-thirds support to clear the House under the procedure being used for the vote ...

Several other news sources referred to this required 2/3 vote, without explaining it. What procedure requires this?

2 Answers 2


Under normal procedures, a bill in the House or Senate would work its way through various committees (which work on their own schedules and have their own priorities), and then go through preliminary debates and qualifying votes before being brought up for the actual vote. It's a time-consuming process, but one that gives ample space for deliberation, modification, and dissemination of information. Expedited processes bypass or truncate many of those stages in order to bring a bill to vote quickly. Such bills go through far less scrutiny, and so congressional rules require a supermajority to keep a majority party from ramming through legislation without the typical debate or consensus-forming periods. See “Fast-Track” or Expedited Procedures...

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    This seems correct, but I can't find a reference to a 2/3 majority or even the word "supermajority" in the reference. It only talks about the various expediting rules. I did find a reference to a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules in a different reference, and suspect that's what's happening here as part of the expedited process, but I feel like the story isn't complete. Dec 29, 2020 at 3:35
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    See the section titled "Expedited and Conventional Procedures", sub 3 para 2 and sub 4 para 4; that's where it talks briefly about the 2/3 rule. They spell 2/3 out alphabetically — i.e., 'two-thirds' — which may be why your search missed it. I grabbed this ref on a quick search as comparatively authoritative, but it might not be the best reference for the task. I'll look and see if I can find something better. Dec 29, 2020 at 6:46
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    @MarkFoskey: honestly, though, I think the issue comes down to the 'suspension of rules' clause of the Rules of the House, section XV.1.a: "A rule may not be suspended except by a vote of two-thirds of the Members voting, a quorum being present [...]". The House has detailed rules for how issues are to be processed through committees, and in order to expedite any legislation it has to suspend those rules first. I suspect they just combine votes: vote to suspend rules and approve in one go. Dec 29, 2020 at 6:58
  • Sounds right to me. The 2/3 vote is because the some rule has to be suspended for the expedited process, but that doesn't contradict what you said about avoiding ramming through, since that's at least one of the reasons you require a supermajority to suspend the rules. Might be worth working into the main answer, but your call. Dec 29, 2020 at 17:15

It is because of the expedited procedure that they used to get it passed as they needed to get it done quickly.


The bill cleared the chamber on a 275 to 134 vote, reaching the two-thirds majority needed for the expedited procedure used Monday.

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