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Motion to Proceed to Consider

Definition: A procedural vote taken by the whole Senate on the matter of whether or not to open debate on a bill. This occurs if the entire Senate does not agree to proceed by “unanimous consent.”

History: Under Rule 22 of the Rules of the Senate (the cloture rule), a bill must travel a long path to Senate consideration prior to final passage. Most rules can be waived if all Senators agree to a unanimous consent request. If an item is controversial, oftentimes even consequential, or a Senator wishes to filibuster (extend debate) he may withhold consent. Once a bill is filed, it must sit at the Senate desk where the presiding officer reads the bill. After one day and one hour have passed, the Majority leader can file for cloture on the Motion to Proceed to Consider, which is a measure subject to debate and can be filibustered.