What is a filibuster in politics? – The Sun

AS Democrats control the White House, there are internal battles going on in the Senate, and one big issue is the filibuster.

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell handed over power to the new Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, there were attempts to ensure the archaic tactic stays in use.

What is a filibuster?

Filibustering is to deliberately waste time during a debate by making overlong speeches or raising unnecessary procedural points.

It means a bill or a motion may be "talked out" and stopped from making progress within the time allowed.

The practice goes as far back as the Roman Senate but has been used, and some may say abused, in democracies ever since.

It is often viewed as archaic and regressive because an older version of the filibuster was used by segregationists to block civil rights legislation.

The term is derived from a Spanish word “filibustero” meaning “pirate” and was first used in a political context by an American Congressman in 1853.

Around the world they have various rules attached to them.

US Senators are allowed to read out recipes or even the phonebook to run the clock down.

But in Britain MPs have to stay on point and current rules prevent them from lasting more than four hours.

When has filibusting been used?

Tory MP Philip Davies has developed a reputation for filibustering bills in parliament.

He spoke for 78 minutes during one debate in the House of Commons in a bid to “talk out the bill” which proposed ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing domestic violence.

During his marathon speech the Tory branded the bill as “sexist against men”.

He said: “I of course oppose violence against women, but I also oppose violence against men and boys and having a strategy for one and not the other is just not acceptable to me.”

Despite his efforts, the bill passed by 135 votes to two on December 16, 2016.

Is the filibuster being removed from US Senate?

Though there are major critics of the filibuster tactic in the Senate, there is no confirmation that it will be removed.

New Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. is prolonging handing over the transfer of control to the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. – and he has said he wants Democrats to promise to stick to the 60-vote threshold to pass nearly every piece of legislation — essentially promising the filibuster will still be in use.

One vocal critic of the tactic, Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, says removing it would have an impact on helping Americans.

He said: "People lived through the horror story of watching Mitch McConnell deliberately obstruct efforts to help Americans.

"And if we replay that movie and not be prepared for it and let it play out again in that fashion — big mistake."

Did Donald Trump want filibustering to be abolished?

Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans to abolish filibustering to speed up the passing of new legislation.

In the US, the filibuster allows senators to hold up legislation without a 60-vote threshold.

On May 30, 2017, President Trump tweeted: "The US Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy.

"Dems would do it, no doubt!"

What is the filibusting record?

The current record for the 21st century in the House of Commons was set by Labour’s Andrew Dinsmore who spoke for three hours and 17 minutes to block a Tory private members bill in 2005.

The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina's J. Strom Thurmond who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Texas state Senator Wendy Davis spoke for more than 10 hours in 2013 to block a bill that would shut most abortion clinics in the US state.

In 2016, South Korean lawmakers set a new world record for a combined filibuster after speaking for 192 hours.

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