What is filibuster

What is filibuster


What is a filibuster?

The filibuster is an old way of delaying legislation by talking forever. It is typically used to block a vote by preventing the necessary quorum from being achieved. If the filibuster holds, the group of Senators can force the Senate to delay the final vote on the matter. Blocking a vote this way is known as a filibuster. It is important to note that the filibuster does not have to have one part to avoid a vote because the person filibustering the vote is talking non-stop.When it was Cato's time to speak during the debate, he began one of his characteristically long-winded speeches. Caesar, who needed to pass the bill before his co-consul, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, took possession of the fasces at the end of the month, immediately recognized Cato's intent and ordered the lictors to jail him for the rest of the day. The move was unpopular with many senators and Caesar, realizing his mistake, soon ordered Cato's release. The day was wasted without the Senate ever getting to vote on a motion supporting the bill, but Caesar eventually circumvented Cato's opposition by taking the measure to the Tribal Assembly, where it passed. In 2009, several parties staged a filibuster of the Local Government (Auckland Reorganisation) Bill in opposition to the government setting up a new Auckland Council under urgency and without debate or review by select committee, by proposing thousands of wrecking amendments and voting in Māori as each amendment had to be voted on and votes in Māori translated into English. Amendments included renaming the council to "Auckland Katchafire Council" or "Rodney Hide Memorial Council" and replacing the phrase "powers of a regional council" with "power and muscle".



In the United States House of Representatives, the filibuster (the right to unlimited debate) was used until 1842, when a permanent rule limiting the duration of debate was created. The disappearing quorum was a tactic used by the minority until Speaker Thomas Brackett Reed eliminated it in 1890. As the membership of the House grew much larger than the Senate, the House had acted earlier to control floor debate and the delay and blocking of floor votes. Through the night of November 18, 2021 into the morning of November 19, 2021, Kevin McCarthy set a record for the longest speech on the House floor (8 hours and 33 minutes), in opposition to the Build Back Better Act.In the United States Senate, a filibuster is a tactic employed by opponents of a proposed law to prevent the measure's final passage. The filibuster has undergone several changes over the course of the 20th century due to modifications of the Senate rules. Originally, the possibility to filibuster was accidentally introduced as a side effect of an 1806 rule change which eliminated the ability to end debate in the Senate by a simple majority vote. Thus, the minority could extend debate on a bill indefinitely by holding the floor of the Senate, preventing the bill from coming to a vote. However, the filibuster was used relatively rarely until the civil rights era. Senator Strom Thurmond famously filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for more than 24 hours. Democrats led by Richard Russell Jr. famously held up the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 60 working days using the filibuster. In the 1970s, the Senate adopted a "two-track" system, which was intended in part as a progressive reform to prevent filibusters from completely blocking Senate business. Under these new rules however, legislation could be blocked simply by submitting a written notice of intent to filibuster. Thus, this rule change inadvertently introduced a supermajority requirement to the Senate, since it became possible for the minority to filibuster legislation without having to physically hold the floor of the Senate.

A number of laws have been passed to limit the scope of the filibuster by explicitly limiting the time for Senate debate, most notably the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 that created the budget reconciliation process. Moreover, changes to Rule XXII in 2013 and 2017 now require only a simple majority to invoke cloture on presidential nominations, although most legislation still requires 60 votes. These rule changes were made by invoking the so-called "nuclear option", a parliamentary procedure that allows the Senate to override one of its standing rules, including the 60-vote threshold to close debate, by a simple majority vote (51+ votes or 50 votes with the Vice President casting the tie-breaking vote), rather than the two-thirds supermajority normally required to amend Senate rules. Although the 1949 rule had eliminated cloture on rules changes themselves, Johnson acted at the very beginning of the new Congress on January 5, 1959, and the resolution was adopted by a 72–22 vote with the support of three top Democrats and three of the four top Republicans. The presiding officer, Vice President Richard Nixon, supported the move and stated his opinion that the Senate "has a constitutional right at the beginning of each new Congress to determine rules it desires to follow". (Source: en.wikipedia.org)



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