This afternoon, the Senate voted against invoking cloture on S. 1789. Sixty votes are required to pass a cloture amendment, and thus the Republicans control the outcome. The final vote was 51-46.
The primary reason for the “no” vote is that the Senate wants to keep its focus on the oil and gas bill that is before them now, and there is a concern that not all the issues in the postal bill managers’ amendment have been satisfactorily dealt with.
Senator Reid and several others ended up voting against cloture so they can move to reconsider the vote in the future, probably after the Senate returns from its Easter recess on April 16. By then, the Republicans will either vote with the Democrats to invoke cloture or allow the bill to proceed to debate.
The following is a helpful excerpt from a 2011 Congressional Research Report, explaining the procedure:
“In relation to the Senate’s initial consideration of a bill or resolution, there usually can be at least two filibusters: first, a filibuster on the motion to proceed to the measure’s consideration; and second, after the Senate agrees to this motion, a filibuster on the measure itself. If the Senate cannot agree to take up a measure by unanimous consent, the majority leader’s recourse is to make a motion that the Senate proceed to its consideration. This motion to proceed, as it is called, usually is debatable and, consequently, subject to a filibuster.14 Therefore, the Senate may have to invoke cloture on this motion before being able to vote on it. Once the Senate adopts the motion to proceed and begins consideration of the measure itself, a filibuster on the measure then may begin, so that cloture must be sought anew on the measure itself. Except by unanimous consent, cloture cannot be sought on the measure during consideration of the motion to proceed, because cloture may be moved only on a question that is pending before the Senate.”