What's a filibuster look like? Not Jimmy Stewart

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has more filibusters than ever these days. But you'd hardly know it by watching the chamber on C-SPAN.

Filibusters are procedural delays that outnumber lawmakers, used to try killing bills and nominations. They seldom look like the exhausted talkathon waged by the devoted senator portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in the film, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Instead, lawmakers intent on killing a bill simply inform majority Democrats that to pass the measure, they will need yes votes from 60 of the 100 senators. With Democrats controlling just 55 votes, nothing can pass without at least some Republican support.

A tentative agreement Thursday between party leaders would curb the use of filibusters a bit, but still let the minority party force majorities to get 60 votes to prevail.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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