Motion to Proceed to Consider

Definition of Motion To Proceed To Consider

A “Motion to Proceed to Consider” is a step used in the United States Senate to move forward with debate on proposed laws or appointments. Imagine you’re with a group of friends deciding what game to play. Before you can start, you all need to agree on a game—that’s like the Senate agreeing to begin a debate with a Motion to Proceed.

This motion requires a majority vote to pass. If at least half of the Senators say yes, they start the debate. If not, the Senate skips that bill or nomination altogether. It signifies readiness among lawmakers to engage in discussion about decisions that could affect the nation.

Examples of Motion To Proceed To Consider

  • When the Senate debated the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, they first had to pass a Motion to Proceed to Consider. This allowed them to lay out their viewpoints, propose alterations, and make decisions about the healthcare system.
  • If a new Supreme Court justice is nominated, the Senate can’t start evaluating them without a Motion to Proceed to Consider. This step ensures that they can openly discuss the nominee’s qualifications and suitability for the role.

Why is it important?

The Motion to Proceed to Consider is vital because it ensures that the Senate’s discussion is organized. It focuses the Senate’s attention on proposals that have enough support to be worth their time. By doing so, it prevents wasting time on issues with little chance of progressing, allowing the Senate to operate more efficiently.

For the average person, understanding this motion means recognizing how laws, that can affect daily life, begin their journey through the Senate. Whether it’s tax legislation or healthcare reform, this motion is a first, crucial hurdle that affects everyone indirectly by shaping which policies will be seriously considered and potentially enacted.


The Motion to Proceed to Consider is grounded in the Senate’s desire for an orderly and fair legislative process. Rules surrounding this motion have evolved over time, shaping how American laws are discussed and created in a way that aims for thorough and democratic debate.


Controversy arises with the Motion to Proceed when it’s used for political strategy—for instance, to prevent a bill from ever being debated. The filibuster is another point of contention, where Senators may delay a vote by speaking at length, which can stifle the legislative process unless a supermajority decides to end it.

Other Important Aspects

The Motion to Proceed also shapes the structure of the debate, such as time limits for discussion. It’s a foundational step in a series of many before a bill becomes a law or a nominee is confirmed, demonstrating the motion’s central role in the Senate’s functions.

Related Topics

  • Filibuster: A tactic used by senators to extend debate and delay proceedings, often affecting the Motion to Proceed. It’s a powerful tool that can stall or completely block the Senate’s ability to discuss and vote on legislation or nominations.
  • Cloture: The process of ending extended debate or a filibuster. It requires a supermajority vote and is essential to allow the Senate to move past a deadlock and progress with its legislative agenda.
  • Quorum: The minimum number of Senators required to be present for the Senate to conduct official business. If too few Senators are present, they cannot hold votes, including the vote on a Motion to Proceed to Consider.
  • Unanimous Consent: A situation in which no Senator objects to a proposal or procedural action. It’s a quicker, less formal way for the Senate to agree on minor issues without needing a full Motion to Proceed.
  • Senate Majority Leader: The senator who leads the majority party and has significant influence over the Senate’s agenda, including the introduction of the Motion to Proceed to Consider. They help navigate the complex legislative process.

In conclusion, the Motion to Proceed to Consider is a crucial part of the legislative process within the U.S. Senate that sets the stage for debates on laws and nominations. Simplified, it’s a form of agreement among Senators to begin a discussion. This motion’s importance stretches far beyond the Senate floor—it can have real-world impacts by shaping the laws that govern everyday life. Understanding it, its origins, controversies, and other important aspects provide a window into how American democracy operates and evolves.