Block That Bill! A History Of The Filibuster | Talking Points Memo

The filibuster has long been part of our political fabric. Early on, both senators and House members had the ability to filibuster, but the word itself didn’t get popular until the mid 1850s. (The word itself is derived from the Dutch word for pirate.) As the House of Representatives expanded, the lower chamber dropped the tactic, but senators have continued to use the parliamentary tactic to prevent votes on bills that they find objectionable. In recent years, as partisan divides have resulted in more and more filibusters, the tactic has been used to block everything from judicial nominations to health care reforms and extending benefits to the unemployed.

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