January 22, 2017

Senate Filibuster Stats

The Senate's minority party fiddling away while the proverbial Rome burns

Filibuster is a Dutch word which means 'pirate.'  It refers to a minority senator hog-
ging the floor and speaking for an inordinately long time, in order to prevent a vote
being cast which will  result in the majority party passing the law presented for vot-
ing.  Segregationist Strom Thurmond holds the record for time on the floor, prevent-
ing a vote from being cast.

A filibuster consists in abusing the no-time-limit rule of a senator speaking on the
floor.  It is ended by means of motioning for cloture and then obtaining at least a
3/5 vote of present senators. Well, the 110th Congress saw its senator file for over
a hundred motions for cloture, for the first time in history ... 139.  The 110th Con-
gress existed in 2007/2008.  The 109th Congress only filed 68 motions, in compar-

During Barack Obama's first term, there were 247 motions for cloture filed in the
Senate, meaning that there were 247 filibusters.  During George Walker Bush's
first term, there were 133.   During Bill Clinton's first term, 162 were filed.  Dur-
ing George Bush Seniors first and only term, there were 98.  During Ronald Rea-
gan's first term, there were 72.  During Jimmy Carter's only term, there were 53.
In contrast, during Ike's eight years in office, there were only  2.  During FDR's
12 and 1/3 years in office, there were 5.

The latest year when there was no filibuster at all in the senate was 1959.  In fact,
July 24, 1954 and March 7, 1960, there were no motions for cloture at all, mean-
ing that there were no cited filibusters.  If there were any during that time, they
were ignored by the official records.


Note:  There are no U.S. House of Representative filibusters, because there is a
time limit for a representative to speak on the floor.