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Filibuster facts for kids

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Senator Bernie Sanders Engaging in a Filibuster
United States senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders delivered a filibuster to the congress about tax cuts in December 2010

Filibuster, also known as talking out a bill, is a tactic of parliamentary procedure. It is a way for one person to delay or entirely prevent debate or votes on a specific proposal.


The term "filibuster" comes from the French "flibustier" word meaning "pillaging pirate." In terms of parliamentary procedure, the word was not used until the 19th century However, the use of long speeches as a delaying tactic is part of the history of the Roman Senate. For example, Cato the Younger is known for using filibuster tactics to block Julius Caesar's rise to power.


  • 1841: The first ongoing filibuster in the United States Senate starts on February 18 and ends on March 11
  • 1853: The term "filibuster" is first recorded in the Congressional Record
  • 1874: Joseph Gillis Biggar delay the passage of Irish coercion acts by making long speeches in the British House of Commons to
  • 1880: The long speeches of Charles Stewart Parnell in the UK House of Commons blocked debate on anything else; and the tactic forced Parliament to take the issue of Irish self-government
  • 1917: The US Senate adopts the cloture rule in order to limit filibusters
  • 1919: A filibuster in the US Senate held up a vote on the Treaty of Versailles
  • 1957: US Senator Strom Thurmond holds record for the longest filibuster. His 24-hour, 18-minute speech on August 28-29 was against a civil rights bill.
  • 1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the US Senate
  • 1983: British Member of Parliament John Golding talked for over 11 hours to delay the British Telecommunications Bill
  • 2011: A filibuster about Canada Post by the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the House of Commons of Canada started on June 23 and ended on June 25, 2011.
  • 2013: Chuck Hagel, the president's defense secretary nominee was filibustered after a cloture motion (the vote that ends the filibuster) failed 58-40.
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