Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States Senate. It is the only organization dedicated to electing Democrats to the United States Senate; the DSCC's current Chair is Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who succeeded Maryland‘s Chris Van Hollen after the 2018 Senate elections. DSCC's current Executive Director is Tom Lopach, assisted by Deputy Executive Director Preston Elliott. Patty Murray became the first female Chair of the DSCC in 2001, her team raised more than $143 million, beating the previous record by $40 million, but Democrats lost two seats. For the first time since 1914 a President's party had taken control of the Senate in a midterm election. Most observers, attributed the outcome to George W. Bush's post-9/11 popularity and the death of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, favored to win. Chuck Schumer chaired the DSCC for the first of two consecutive cycles. Prior to the election, the Republican Party controlled 55 of the 100 Senate seats.
The Senate elections were part of the Democratic sweep of the 2006 elections, in which Democrats made numerous gains and no Congressional or gubernatorial seat held by a Democrat was won by a Republican. Six Republican incumbents were defeated by Democrats: Jim Talent lost to Claire McCaskill, Conrad Burns lost to Jon Tester, Mike DeWine lost to Sherrod Brown, Rick Santorum lost to Bob Casey Jr. Lincoln Chafee lost to Sheldon Whitehouse, George Allen lost to Jim Webb. Incumbent Democrat Joe Lieberman won reelection as an independent. Democrats kept their two open seats in Minnesota and Maryland, Republicans held onto their lone open seat in Tennessee. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders, an independent, was elected to the seat left open by Independent U. S. Senator Jim Jeffords. In the 2006 election, two new female Senators were elected to seats held by men; this brought the total number of female senators to an all-time high of 16. Following the elections, no party held a majority of seats for the first time since 1954.
However, the party balance for the Senate stood at 51–49 in favor of the Democrats, because independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman caucused with the Democrats. The Democrats needed 51 seats to control the Senate because Vice President Dick Cheney would have broken any 50–50 tie in favor of the Republicans. Chuck Schumer chaired the DSCC for the second of two consecutive cycles. Going into the 2008 election, the Senate consisted of 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, two independents who caucused with the Democrats, giving the Democratic caucus a 51-49 majority. Of the seats up for election in 2008, 23 were held by 12 by Democrats; the Republicans, who conceded early on that they wouldn't be able to regain the majority in 2008, lost eight seats. This election was the second cycle in a row in which no seats switched from Democratic to Republican. In addition, this was the largest Democratic Senate gain since 1986, when they won eight seats. Democrats defeated five Republican incumbents: Ted Stevens of Alaska lost to Mark Begich, Norm Coleman of Minnesota lost to Al Franken, John Sununu of New Hampshire lost to Jeanne Shaheen, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina lost to Kay Hagan and Gordon Smith of Oregon lost to Jeff Merkley.
Democrats picked up open seats in Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia. When the new Senate was first sworn in, the balance was 58–41 in favor of the Democrats, because of the unresolved Senate election in Minnesota; the defection of Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania in April 2009 and the swearing-in of Al Franken of Minnesota in July 2009 brought the balance to 60–40. In 2012, 23 Democratic Senate seats were available, as opposed to 10 Republican seats. An increase of four seats would have given the GOP a Senate majority. In the election, three GOP seats and one Democratic seat was lost, increasing the Democratic majority by two. DSCC executive director said their strategy was to "localize" elections – make them "a choice between the two people on the ballot...and not allow it to be a nationalized election". Because this is not easy to do in a presidential election year, the DSCC had gone much on the offensive, depicting Republican candidates and donors, the Tea Party, as extreme. During the Florida and Indiana primaries, they pushed that the Tea Party was working to move the GOP "so far to the right that candidates will say anything to get their party's nomination".
The GOP targeted four red states to pick up the seats. They were looking at states that did not vote for President Obama in 2008: Missouri, Montana and North Dakota, they lost three of those four seats. In 2013, 21 Democrats were up for either election to complete the six-year term. In order to have a majority, the Republicans were required to attain at least 51 seats in the Senate; the Democrats would have been able to retain a majority with 48 seats because, in event of a tie vote, Vice President Joe Biden becomes the tie-breaker. Many of the incumbents were elected in the Democratic wave year of 2008 along with President Obama's first election. Although Democrats saw some opportunities for pickups, the combination of Democratic retirements and numerous Democratic seats up for election in swing states and red states gave Republicans hopes of taking control of the Senate. 7 of the 21 states with Democratic seats up for election in 2014 had voted for Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
Democrats faced the
Term of office
A term of office is the length of time a person serves in a particular elected office. In many jurisdictions there is a defined limit on how long terms of office may be before the officeholder must be subject to re-election; some jurisdictions exercise term limits, setting a maximum number of terms an individual may hold in a particular office. Being the origin of the Westminster system, aspects of the United Kingdom's system of government are replicated in many other countries; the monarch serves as head of state until his or her abdication. In the United Kingdom Members of Parliament in the House of Commons are elected for the duration of the parliament. Following dissolution of the Parliament, a general election is held which consists of simultaneous elections for all seats. For most MPs this means that their terms of office are identical to the duration of the Parliament, though an individual's term may be cut short by death or resignation. An MP elected in a by-election mid-way through a Parliament, regardless of how long they have occupied the seat, is not exempt from facing re-election at the next general election.
The Septennial Act 1715 provided. Prior to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 parliaments had no minimum duration. Parliaments could be dissolved early by the monarch at the Prime Minister's request. Early dissolutions occurred when the make-up of Parliament made forming government impossible, or, more when the incumbent government reasoned an early general election would improve their re-election chances; the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 mandated. Early dissolution is still possible, but under much more limited circumstances; because the government and Prime Minister are indirectly elected through the Commons, the terms of Parliaments and MPs do not directly apply to offices of government, though in practice these are affected by changes in Parliament. While speaking, a Prime Minister whose incumbency spans multiple Parliaments only serves one, term of office, some writers may refer to the different Parliaments as separate terms. Hereditary peers and life peers retain membership of the House of Lords for life, though members can resign or be expelled.
Lords Spiritual hold membership of the House of Lords until the end of their time as bishops, though a senior bishop may be made a life peer upon the end of their bishopric. The devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland are variations on the system of government used at Westminster; the office of the leader of the devolved administrations has no numeric term limit imposed upon it. However, in the case of the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government there are fixed terms for which the legislatures can sit; this is imposed at four years. Elections may be held before this time but only if no administration can be formed, which has not happened yet. Offices of local government other regional elected officials follow similar rules to the national offices discussed above, with persons elected to fixed terms of a few years. In the United States, the president of the United States is elected indirectly through the United States Electoral College to a four-year term, with a term limit of two terms or a maximum of ten years if the president acted as president for two years or less in a term where another was elected as president, imposed by the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1951.
The Vice President serves four-year terms. U. S. Representatives serve two-year terms. U. S. Senators serve six-year terms. Federal judges have different terms in office. Article I judges. However, the majority of the federal judiciary, Article III judges, serve for life; the terms of office for officials in state governments varies according to the provisions of state constitutions and state law. The term for state governors is four years in all states but New Hampshire; the National Conference of State Legislatures reported in January 2007 that among state legislatures: 44 states had terms of office for the lower house of the state legislature at two years. Five had terms of office at four years. 37 states had terms of office for the upper house of the state legislature at four years. Twelve had terms of office at two years. Among territories of the United States: In the American Samoa Fono, members of the House serve two-year terms while members of the Senate serve six-year terms. Members of both chambers of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico have four-year terms.
Members of both chambers of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature have two-year terms. The Legislature of Guam and Legislature of the
A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet made of hardwood fashioned with a handle. It is used exclusively in the United States in legislatures and courts of law, but is used worldwide for auctions. A gavel can be used to punctuate rulings and proclamations, it is a symbol of the authority and right to act in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer. It is struck against a sound block, a striking surface also made of hardwood, to enhance its sounding qualities. According to tradition, Vice President of the United States of America John Adams used a gavel to call the first U. S. Senate to order in New York in the spring of 1789. Since it has remained customary to tap the gavel against a lectern or desk to indicate the opening and the closing of proceedings, giving rise to the phrase gavel-to-gavel to describe the entirety of a meeting or session, it is used to keep the meeting itself calm and orderly. The sound of the gavel strike, being abrupt to start and stop, audible by all present, serves to define an action in time in a manner perceivable by all, to endow the action with practical as well as symbolic finality.
In Medieval England, the word gavel could refer to a tribute or rent payment made with something other than cash. These agreements were set in English land-court with the sound of a gavel, a word which may come from the Old English: gafol. Gavel would be prefixed to any non-monetary payment given to a lord and can be found as a prefix to other terms such as gavelkind, a system of partible inheritance found in parts of the UK and Ireland. A gavel may have referred to a kind of mason's tool, a setting maul that came into use as a way to maintain order in meetings. A gavel may be used in meetings of a deliberative assembly. According to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, the gavel may be used to signify a recess or an adjournment, it may be used to signify when a member makes a slight breach of the rules. Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law and Procedure states that, in addition to an optional light tap after a vote, there are three other uses of a gavel: To attract attention and call a meeting to order.
In most organisations, two taps raise and one tap seats the assembly. To maintain order and restore it when breached in the course of the proceedings.. To be handed over to successors in office or to officiating officers as ceremonials, etc.. Improper uses include banging the gavel in an attempt to drown out a disorderly member. In this situation, the chair should give one vigorous tap at a time at intervals; the chair should not lean on the gavel, juggle or toy with it, or use it to challenge or threaten or to emphasize remarks. The chair should not be "gaveling through" a measure by cutting off members and putting a question to a vote before any member can get the floor; the expression passing the gavel signifies an orderly succession from one chair to another. In addition to the use above during business meetings, organizations may use the gavel during their ceremonies and may specify the number of raps of the gavel corresponding to different actions; the gavel is used in courts of law in the United States and, by metonymy, is used there to represent the entire judiciary system of judgeship.
On the other hand, in the Commonwealth of Nations, gavels have never been used by judges, despite many American-influenced TV programmes depicting them. The unique gavel of the United States Senate has no handle. In 1954, the gavel, in use since at least 1780 broke when Vice President Richard Nixon used it during a heated debate on nuclear energy, despite silver plates having been added in 1952 to strengthen it. Unable to obtain a piece of ivory large enough to replace the gavel, the Senate appealed to the Indian embassy; that year Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, vice president of India, visited the Senate and presented a replica of the original gavel to Nixon. The replica is still in use as of 2018. In contrast to the Senate's, the gavel of the United States House of Representatives is plain wood with a handle. Used more and more forcefully in the House, it has been broken and replaced many times. In both houses, the gavel is sounded, that is, once to mark the opening of the session, the adjournment, to punctuate announcements of decisions by the body.
Rather than shouting for order like in most Westminster style parliaments, the gavel in the House of Representatives, is tapped by the presiding officer to call the assembly to order or to restore order when cross-conversation has made it too noisy to proceed. In 1955 Icelandic sculptor Ríkarður Jónsson carved the Icelandic birch gavel and striking board used at the United Nations. Media related to gavels at Wikimedia Commons
Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives
The Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the House with law enforcement and administrative responsibilities. The Sergeant at Arms is elected at the beginning of each Congress by the membership of the House. In one of its first resolutions, the 1st Federal Congress established the role of Sergeant at Arms of the United States House of Representatives; as the chief law enforcement officer of the House, the Sergeant at Arms is responsible for security in the House wing of the United States Capitol, the House office buildings, on adjacent grounds. Under the direction of the Speaker of the House or other presiding officer, the Sergeant at Arms plays an integral role in maintaining order and decorum in the House chamber; the Sergeant at Arms is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of members of Congress, congressional staff, visiting dignitaries, tourists. Toward this mission, the Sergeant at Arms works in concert with the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol.
These three officials, along with the Chief of the Capitol Police in an ex officio status, comprise the Capitol Police Board. Through custom and precedent, the Sergeant at Arms performs a number of protocol and ceremonial duties. Among these duties are to lead formal processions at ceremonies such as presidential inaugurations, joint sessions of Congress, formal addresses to the Congress and escorting visiting foreign dignitaries, to supervise congressional funeral arrangements. In this capacity, the Sergeant at Arms is most famous for announcing the arrival of the President, a responsibility that he took over from the Doorkeeper of the United States House of Representatives when the latter position was abolished in 1995. Custom dictates that he announce the arrival of the Supreme Court, the President's cabinet, the President by saying, "Mister Speaker, the President of the United States!" For daily sessions of the House, the Sergeant at Arms carries the silver and ebony Mace of the United States House of Representatives in front of the speaker in procession to the rostrum.
When the House is in session, the mace stands on a pedestal to the speaker's own right. When the body resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, the Sergeant at Arms moves the mace to a lowered position, more or less out of sight. In accordance with the Rules of the House, on the rare occasions when a Member becomes unruly, the Sergeant at Arms, on order of the Speaker, lifts the mace from its pedestal and presents it before the offenders, thereby restoring order; the Sergeant at Arms performs administrative services in support of the Members and visitors associated with the security and other operations of the House. If a quorum is not present, those Representatives who are present may vote to order the Sergeant at Arms to try to round up absent Representatives. In addition to serving on the Capitol Police Board, the Sergeant at Arms served with the Senate Sergeant at Arms and the Architect of the Capitol on the Capitol Guide Board; this board oversaw the Capitol Guide Service, which provided tours of the Capitol to visitors and special services to tourists.
The Deputy Sergeants at Arms act as assistants to the Sergeant at Arms. The Sergeant at Arms has the duty of making the important decisions under his/her power, while the Deputy Sergeant at Arms executes the decisions; the Deputy Sergeant at Arms serving under Paul Irving is Timothy Blodgett. Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate Serjeant-at-arms Official website Source: United States House of Representatives Sergeant at Arms Fact Sheet, via House.gov Sergeants at Arms official fact sheet, via history.house.gov
Cloture, closure, or, informally, a guillotine is a motion or process in parliamentary procedure aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly. Clôture is French for "the act of terminating something", it was introduced into the Parliament of the United Kingdom by William Ewart Gladstone to overcome the obstructionism of the Irish Parliamentary Party and was made permanent in 1887. It was subsequently adopted by other legislatures; the name cloture remains in the United States. In Australia, the procedure by which finite debating times for particular bills are set, or protracted debates are brought to a close, is referred to as a "guillotine". A minister will declare that a bill must be considered as urgent, move a motion to limit debating time; the declaration and motion may refer to multiple bills or packages of bills. A guillotine motion may not be debated or amended, must be put to a vote immediately. Closure in Canada was adopted by the House of Commons in 1913 by Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden.
The new closure rule was tested by the government only a few days after its adoption during debate at the Committee of the Whole stage of the Naval Aid Bill. "Closure" is the term used in Canada. Procedure on closure in Canada is governed under Standing Order no. 57 of the House of Commons and consists of three parts: Notice of closure, a motion of closure, a final period of debate before final voting on the bill being closured. Notice of closure is an oral statement announcing intention to call for closure given by any Minister at a prior sitting of the Committee of the Whole; the notice need not be the day prior to the sitting at which the bill will be closured, but cannot be in the same sitting as the final motion of closure. The motion of closure, referred to as a motion "that the debate shall not be further adjourned", is passed by a simple majority of the House of Commons, although in the event of a tie, the Speaker of the House will apply Speaker Denison's rule to issue the casting vote.
Should the motion of closure pass, all members are given a single period in which to speak lasting no more than 20 minutes. If the final period of speaking to the bill has not been finished by 8:00 p.m. that same day, no MP may speak after that point, the bill moves to a final vote. The first cloture in Hong Kong was introduced in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong on 17 May 2012, by Tsang Yok-sing, to abruptly halt filibuster during debate at the Committee of the Whole stage of the Legislative Council Bill 2012; the motion to end debate was submitted by Council member Philip Wong Yu-hong some time after 4 am Hong Kong time, after a marathon session that lasted over 33 hours. Wong stood up and suggested that legislatures in other countries have a procedure called "cloture motion", suggested Council President should end debate immediately. President Tsang agreed and said that he considered ending debate without Wong's suggestion because he would not allow debate to go on endlessly. Cloture is not defined by any precedent of the Legislative Council.
Tsang made reference to Standing Order 92, which stated "In any matter not provided for in these Rules of Procedure, the practice and procedure to be followed in the Council shall be such as may be decided by the President who may, if he thinks fit, be guided by the practice and procedure of other legislatures". Standing Order 92 therefore may implicitly give Council President discretion on whether he should or should not follow the cloture rules of other legislatures, but this is up to debate. Legislative Council President Tsang chose to end debate without calling for a cloture vote, questionable. Council member Leung Kwok-hung stood up and said that he had never heard of cloture without a vote anywhere else and suggested there should have been a cloture vote. Cloture was again invoked by Tsang Yok-sing on 13 May 2013 to halt debate of the 2013 Appropriation Bill. In the New Zealand House of Representatives, any MP called to speak may move a closure motion. If the length of the debate is not fixed by standing orders or the Business Committee, the Speaker may decide to put the closure motion to a vote, carried by a simple majority.
A closure motion may be adopted to end debate on a matter in both the House of Commons and in the House of Lords by a simple majority of those voting. In the House of Commons, at least 100 MPs must vote in favour of the motion for closure to be adopted. In the House of Lords, the Lord Speaker does not possess an equivalent power. Only one closure motion is permitted per debate. Specific to legislation, a guillotine motion, formally an allocation of time motion, limits the amount of time for a particular stage of a bill. Debate ceases; the use of guillotines has been replaced by the programme motion, where the amount of time for each stage is agreed after a bill's second reading. Both guillotine motions and programme motions are specific to the Commons.