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Adopting A New Rule: Really Ending Secret Holds


The Senate just voted to end the practice of secret holds by a 92-4 vote. The four senators voting against ending secret holds were Sens. Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and John Ensign. In the future the names of the senator objecting to a bill, or the name of the senator objecting to a bill on behalf of another senator, will be published automatically.

This new rule is excellent news and it also brings about a much-needed change in how we view holds. Here are the details:

If a senator objects to a bill their name will be published in the Congressional Record and in a new part of the Senate Calendar. If a senator objects on behalf of another senator the objecting senator will have their name printed in the Congressional Record and the Senate Calendar so long as the senator for whom they are objecting on behalf of does not come forward.

David Waldman has repeatedly made the case that the public needs to treat the objecting senator, whether they are objecting on behalf of someone or not, as the senator with the hold. By printing the name of the objector, even if the hold is on behalf of another, the new process treats the objector as the senator with the hold. We should all treat the person who objects to a bill as the person with the hold on the bill.

Congratulations to the Senate for ending this terrible practice. Now the rest of us need to do what David Waldman said and treat the person whose name winds up in the Congressional Record or the Senate Calendar as the person holding the bill up, no matter what they say.