Republicans defeat final rule change proposal

In the final vote in a series of stacked votes Thursday night, Republicans and some Democrats came together, 46-49, to defeat a proposal by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that would have provided procedures for limiting debate when cloture cannot be reached. The proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

According to the Merkley amendment, if the Senate is unable to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to reach cloture on a bill, a majority of senators could vote together to bring in a period of “extended debate.” Under extended debate, those opposed to cloture would have to maintain a continuous physical presence on the Senate floor in order to avoid cloture.

That was the final vote for the night, and most likely for the week. The Senate is now in a period of "morning business" in which senators are free to discuss topics of their own choosing.