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'Everyone Was Surprised by the Senate Passing Permanent Daylight Saving Time. Especially the Senators.' by Paul McLeod
Paul McLeod writes the following for BuzzFeed News:
The Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill to make daylight saving time permanent stunned many Americans, not least of which the senators themselves. …
Any single senator could have blocked the daylight saving bill from passing but many didn’t know it was even happening. Sen. Rick Scott, a permanent daylight saving time proponent who signed a similar bill into law when he was governor of Florida, said he would have gone to give a speech on the Senate floor if he had known. Asked to re-create his reaction to the news, Sen. Chris Coons issued a series of shocked stammers that is impossible to phonetically translate. …
This is not how the Senate usually works. Passing a bill through the chamber is, by design, a long and painful process that usually results in shattered dreams and bitter failure. …
[But w]ith unanimous agreement, you can do pretty much anything. Any senator can go to the Senate floor any time and ask for unanimous consent to skip all of the debate and the votes and just pass the bill immediately. If no one objects, it is done. But all it takes is a single senator to object and the bill is blocked. …
The long-standing hotline system of notifying every senator of each unanimous consent request isn’t just a matter of principle. The moment this norm is breached and one side tries something sneaky, both parties would need to implement a system where one of their members is present in the Senate chamber at all times to block consent requests. That’s a babysitting duty no one wants to be stuck with, so both sides agree to play nice.
A sneaky consent request would also be far from guaranteed to succeed. Every bill needs to pass both the Senate and the House, as well as go to the president’s desk, in order to become law. …
The permanent daylight saving time bill is now in this limbo. Though it has passed the Senate, it still needs to pass the House and be signed into law by President Joe Biden. Passing a bill through the House is generally a lot easier than the Senate, but there is still an opportunity for standard time proponents—or clock-changing enthusiasts—to block the legislation.
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