Unanimous Consent Agreement Definition
Objections are sometimes used as delaying tactics. The opponent may disagree with the proposal in question, but opts for a rejection in order to force a tedious formal vote, which may also include a phase of the debate.  Given their importance to the activities of the Chambers, it is useful to understand the context or origin of unanimous agreements. The purpose of this report is to examine how and why these informal agreements became special orders of the Senate that could be made enforceable by the President. The report shall be updated when circumstances warrant. For more information on unanimous consent agreements, see CRS Report 98-225, Unanimous Consent Agreements in the Senate, by Walter J. Oleszek; REB Report RS20594, How Unanimous Consent Agreements Regulate Senate Action, by Richard S. Beth; and CRS 98-310, Senate Unanimit Consent Agreements: Potential Effects on the Amendment Process, by Valerie Heitshusen. A number of independent resolutions may be moved in a single motion. Unanimous consent is required to consider such a motion in a single vote. Each member may request a separate vote on one or more of the independent decisions.
 Bill managers have apparently taken the lead in proposing unanimous consent agreements. Their growing commitment in the decades that followed led one senator, Roger Mills, D-TX, to complain that the Senate “gets its vote on all issues, like Poland`s historic parliament, by unanimous approval of the whole, rather than by the act of the majority.” 7 Other problems associated with these early agreements also caused confusion among members. Many of the complaints stemmed from the fact that advance unanimous consent agreements were often seen as “a mere agreement between gentlemen” and, as one president pro tempore put it, “could be violated with impunity by any member of the Senate.” 8 To reduce confusion, the Senate adopted new rules. Informal unanimous consent agreements became a standard procedure in 1914 that can only be modified by new agreements addressing immediate concerns. The practice of invoking Cloture to end debate in the Senate was created in 1917 when the panel created more formal mechanisms to manage soil procedures. Politifact noted that 206 of the 254 substantive measures considered by the U.S. Senate during the 110th Congress were approved unanimously. The party that has the majority in the U.S. Senate often prevents high-profile bills from being passed unanimously.
Senator Marsha Blackburn (right) blocked three bills proposed by Senate Democrats to ensure the security of the 2020 election. Senator James Inhofe (right) prevented unanimous approval of a 2020 resolution that uses the label of “war crimes” for military strikes in culturally important places. For example, the passage of laws by unanimous consent does not require that all members of a legislature, a majority of members, or even a quorum of representatives be present to vote.  Unanimous consent presupposes that only one representative of those present has requested a recorded division or requested a quorum. For this reason, the assertion that a law was passed “unanimously” when it was passed by “unanimous consent” may be misleading as to the degree of its support.  Controlled Time – A unanimous consent agreement that limits the time for debate on a bill or other measure and places it under the control of floor managers. Each manager then allows each senator to participate in the debate with a certain amount of time. In non-legislative advisory bodies operating under Robert`s Standing Orders, unanimous consent is often used to expedite the consideration of non-controversial motions.    It is sometimes simply used as a time-saving device, especially at the end of the session. Sometimes members do not want a formal vote on the issue, or they know they would lose such a vote and do not feel the need to take the time to do so.
In short, uncertainties and controversies prompted the Senate on January 16, 1914, to adopt a formal rule to regulate unanimous consent agreements. There has been relatively little discussion on Article XII. The great controversy concerned whether these covenants could be modified by another unanimous consent agreement. It is not surprising that Senator Lodge objected to the new rule on the grounds that allowing subsequent amendments to unanimous consent agreements would only result in delays in expediting the work of the Senate. Senator Charles Thomas, D-CO, replied, “It seems to me that it is the most illogical thing in the world to say that the United States Senate can unanimously approve something and, by this law, deprives itself of the power to unanimously agree to undo it.” 19 Unanimous consent may be obtained from the Chair, who shall ask whether there are any objections to a measure. For example, the chair may say, “If there are no objections, the motion will carry. [Pause] As there are no objections, the request is accepted.  In Westminster parliaments, the sentence could be: “There are no objections, permission is granted. In the most common cases, such as inserting an article into the minutes of Congress in Congress, the president can shorten this statement to four words: “Without objections, so ordered” or even in two words: “Without objections” (Latin: nemine contradicente). Another example of this practice in the House of Representatives is when a series of votes have been interrupted by a speaker or another company.
The chair will say, “Without objection, the five-minute vote will continue.” In 1870, two researchers noted that unanimous consent agreements were “used with some frequency.” These advance unanimous consent agreements were, “as is the case today, limitation agreements that provided for the sale of a measure within a certain period of time.” 5 An exchange of 24 April 1879 illustrates the practical usefulness of these agreements in limiting debate and determining voting time. The exchange is a reminder of what is happening in the Senate today. Morning Business – routine business that takes place during the first two hours of a legislative day or at other times after unanimous approval. Includes receiving news from the Speaker and the House of Representatives, executive reports, committee reports, as well as introducing bills and tabling resolutions. Unanimous approval is often used for the approval of the minutes.  If no one makes corrections to the minutes, they are approved unanimously without a formal vote.  In this particular case of unanimous consent, the only way to oppose approval of the Protocol is to offer a correction to the Protocol.  Senators generally accept the debate and amendment restrictions common to most unanimous consent agreements, primarily for two overlapping reasons: they facilitate the management of the Senate`s workload and serve the interests of legislators.