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A time-delaying tactic in the Senate, generally used by the minority in an effort to delay or defeat a bill or amendment that in many instances would probably pass if voted on directly.
The filibuster takes advantage of the Senate’s rules that permit unlimited debate.To end a filibuster, the cloture motion must obtain the votes of three-fifths of the Senate membership (60 if there are no vacancies).
In the 111th Congress, Senate Republicans filibustered 137 times; Democrats were able to break the 60 vote requirement only 63 times.
During the first session of the 112th Congress, Republicans filibustered 48 times, and it was only broken 19 times. A once rarely used procedure, it is now often deployed and has greatly hindered the Senate’s ability to act.