Update, 11:00 a.m. Pacific – The cloture vote failed, 52-44. We’ll provide a more detailed analysis in another post later today.
Today, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up MAP-21 for a cloture vote. This is the procedural hurdle, requiring 60 votes, to advance a bill forward to debate.
Transportation For America yesterday issued a statement of support for MAP-21, and urged Senators to support cloture in today’s vote.
Although cloture does not assure final passage, the difficulty of winning this vote is why many refer to needing a “supermajority” in the Senate. Anyone who’s worked on legislation should be familiar with the challenges of winning over enough members of both parties to win more than 50% support.
Streetsblog DC rounded up opinions on whether it’s likely to pass or not, and the verdict is, maybe. You can read up on their sleuthing here.
Should MAP-21 advance, the Senate will likely spend at least two weeks debating amendments before a final vote. That’s when our handy amendment tracker will become useful.
If cloture fails, the bill is stuck and the chances become close to nil that a full transportation bill would be completed before March 31. (Chances are already slim due to the meltdown of the House bill, though we’re not entirely counting them out quite yet.)
It’s kind of like Groundhog Day. Will we get a few more weeks of debate, or will it be over immediately? Either way, we’ll let you know when we find out what happens.