Every week, the Senate routinely passes legislation that is never voted on, never debated, and rarely, if ever, read by the full Senate. Now surely, you say, this process is reserved for non-controversial bills like renaming post offices or honoring the Super Bowl champions, right?The US Senate, too lazy to debate. Fuck!
Wrong. The “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” regularly passes major legislation that creates new programs and authorizes billions in new spending without you knowing until after the fact.
The game works this way: the leaders of both parties send an email and recorded phone message to each Senate office notifying them they would like to pass certain bills sometime that day by unanimous consent. If no senator calls his or her party leader to object, it usually passes at the close of business that day without a recorded vote. Sometimes, I am given just a few minutes to read lengthy bills, and unless I pick up the phone to object (“hold”), it is considered passed by the US Senate.
I would be willing to bet that few senators even take the time to read the request, let alone the bill. Worse, the decision is usually left to an unelected staff member.
And they expect you to find out by noting the bill’s passage in the congressional record on the day after passage.
They call this process “unanimous consent” when in reality it is consent by default.