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What is it?

Written By: 

Cameron Thomson

Publishing Date: 

November 19, 2022

There has been a great deal of talk and debate centered around the filibuster and its utility. Some are calling for its eradication and removal, while others are in staunch support. Given the ongoing debate, all of those caught in the middle are asking: What is the filibuster?

In short, the filibuster is a tactic used by a minority party in the Senate to encourage bi-partisan cooperation when trying to pass a bill and create new laws, avoiding a simple majority decision. When a bill is presented to the Senate to be voted on, a filibuster can be employed to stop the bill from being passed with simple majority support (51 supporting votes). There is no time limit on debating a bill and all debates must be concluded before the bill can be voted on. Should a two-thirds majority vote be had on a bill, the filibuster ends, and the bill is passed into law.

In the House of Representatives, a simple majority vote will pass a bill to the Senate, meaning under a majority group, legislation can be passed with little-to-no cooperation or contest. However, in the Senate, to overcome the filibuster, a supermajority is required, meaning 60 of the 100 senators must vote “yes” to pass a bill to the next phase in becoming a law. This act is referred to as a “cloture”.

The filibuster has undergone many changes since its creation, but its purpose still stands. The tactic is there to ensure a series of checks and balances, acting as a method by which the minority party’s voice is still heard while also encourages cooperation within the senate and amongst opposing party members.

I am wondering if a sentence following explaining a simple majority  and why senators would like to avoid it would be helpful for the reader to build better context/background knowledge. Would a sentence including more specifically why a party may want to use the filibuster help explain its use? I think this paragraph may do better organizationally by going in the previous paragraph after the sentence describing the filibuster. Then having The House of Representative sentence and following in a new paragraph. I wonder if a paragraph or maybe just a sentence or two showcasing an example of a time where a filibuster was used and how it affected the law may benefit this piece?


52 Senators allow filibuster to block Freedom to Vote Act, despite a majority of voters supporting the bill. (n.d.). Retrieved from Public Democrazy America:

About Filibuster and Cloture. (n.d.). Retrieved from United States Senate:

What is a Filibuster. (2021, February 10). Retrieved September 2, 2022, from

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