Debate on the Senate Floor
After being voted upon favorably by a committee, the bill is referred to the full Senate for a vote. Here, the Majority Leader of the Senate is responsible for deciding when to bring up a piece of legislation for a vote and what type of vote it needs. Sometimes, a non-controversial bill will be “hotlined”, which means the Majority Leader and Minority Leader after consulting with their Senate colleagues agree to pass the legislation by unanimous consent and without a roll-call vote in order to save time by moving legislation more quickly. Often times, though, legislation requires more debate and must be discussed in-depth on the Senate floor. During the floor debate, every Senator is given the opportunity to speak for or against a bill and multiple votes are taken to move the bill through the legislative process. After much debate and consideration, the Majority leader may schedule a vote with all the Senators. If this route is taken, a series of votes must be taken in order for a bill to pass the Senate. First, the Senate must agree to consider the legislation by voting on a "Motion to Proceed" which indicates the start of debate. After all Senators have had the opportunity to discuss the legislation, a “Motion to End Debate” or a "Cloture Vote" is made, which then brings the Senate to one final vote on the legislation.