Senate Democrats’ Climate Change Talk-A-Thon Is Not A Filibuster

AP

Senate Democrats plan to stay up all night Monday night and take turns speaking on the floor to urge action on climate change. Thirty of them are expected to participate in the unusual event.

These talk-a-thons tend to bring about false claims of being a filibuster. What Democrats will do is not a filibuster in any sense of the word.

Senate.gov defines a filibuster as “any attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length, by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.”

Like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on taxes in 2010 and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Obamacare in 2013, the Democrats’ upcoming talk-a-thon on climate change is precisely not a filibuster. The Senate would not be conducting business overnight, so they’re simply availing of unused time to make their voices heard.

They’ll wrap up in time for Senate business to begin on Tuesday morning, without an iota of disruption or delay. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to participate in the talk-a-thon. The majority leader controls the floor — he doesn’t need to filibuster to block action.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK