Secret holds essay

Nowadays the so-called secret holds are considered to be on the top of the list of the Senate progress threats. The main idea of secret hold is the right of one single senator to hold some piece of legislation, without stating the reason. This could be done officially, as well as non-officially. When there was a moment, when a bill to stop secret holds was offered, ironically it was not passed exactly because of a number of secret holds. Nowadays there is an opinion that secret holds are not beneficial for progress and accountability and thus they should be banned.

According to the rules of Senate in order to proceed any bill there is a need to get the unanimous consent. In other words if there is a Senator, who has objections as for moving forward a bill, then there is no unanimous consent and the bill is stopped automatically. If there is a need to prevent any bill from reaching the stage of voting, then it receives hold. There are two options possible. According to the first option the motion is held due to open objection on the Senate floor and according to the second option, the Senators have the chance to inform the party leaders privately about their objections, without even revealing their names to public. This is actually the procedure of a secret hold. Initially the main aim of introducing of the secret hold was to let Senators consult of legislation in relations to each of the states. As soon as any Senator used the right to place a hold, he could have enough time to consider the current legislation and realize the outcomes of the further steps forward.

In reality the situation is not that simple, as this right was actually utilized by the Senators in order to anonymously hold the legislations, without even having to comment upon the reasons for doing so. Logically, secret holds became real powerful weapons to be used by Senators, when they needed it and moreover without forcing them to present their comment to public. The practice of secret holds dates back to the middle of the 19th century and was actively utilized by both Republicans and Democrats. Still nowadays there are more and more cases, when secret holds are abused and the results are the blocks of the normal functioning of the Senate as well as some of the Presidential appointments, for which approvals from the Senate are needed.

This is the reason, why the advocated of the government transparency have paid attention to the practice of secret holds and initiated the discussion of finding the way to ban secret holds. There is an opinion that there is a need to support transparency by making the Senators come out with their ideas and attitudes officially and be ready to bear responsibility for their decisions and actions.   The Senators have initially occupied their positions in order to operate openly and without taking any decisions in shadow. Even if there is no chance to take such decision immediately, there should be steps made in this direction.