Mr. Sanders goes to Washington
December 10th, 2010
06:02 PM ET
4 years ago

Mr. Sanders goes to Washington

(CNN) - In case you haven't tuned into C-SPAN Friday, you might have missed that Sen. Bernie Sanders has been talking. And talking. And talking.

Summoning his inner Frank Capra, the Vermont independent has been speaking on the Senate floor virtually non-stop since 10:24 a.m. ET - all in an effort to show his opposition to the temporary extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that President Obama and Republicans have agreed to.

Is Sanders filibustering?

The Senate parliamentarian's office says no. The Senate is technically in a period of Morning Business - time set aside during any part of the day for senators to deliver speeches on any subject that they want - and therefore not technically debating the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's staff - which runs the floor - also says it's not a filibuster.

Even Sanders admits it's not a filibuster, starting his oratory with, "You can call what I am doing today anything you want. You can call it a filibuster. You can call it a very long speech. I am not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle. I am simply here today to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides."

Though not technically a filibuster, the move adds a dramatic picture to just how strongly some members of Obama's own party are against the deal he reached with Republicans earlier this week that extends the tax cuts for all income levels. Sanders normally caucuses with Democrats.

A spokesman from Sanders' office says there is no timeframe for when the senator will wrap up, although the Senate is not due to convene this weekend.

An email from Sanders' office reported that the Senate video server temporarily shut down because more than 12,000 users were trying to watch the speech.

Sanders' staff, by the way, referred to his speech as a "filibuster."

Sanders has many hours to go however if he wants to set records. The longest Senate floor speech was delivered by the late Sen.
Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1957 when he spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the Civil Rights Act that year.

A vote to begin debate in the Senate on the measure is scheduled for Monday.

UPDATE: After speaking for eight hours and thirty five minutes, Sanders finally yielded the floor at 6:59 pm.

CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report.


Filed under: Senate • Tax deal
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Shawamar

    I like this guy..

    December 11, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. unretired05

    How did this guy get to Washington? He has way more common sense than the rest of the politicians.

    December 11, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. Now that is how you filibuster!

    Bravo!!!!!! Encore!!!!

    December 11, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Craig in AZ

    "Sanders has many hours to go however if he wants to set records. The longest Senate floor speech was delivered by the late Sen.
    Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1957 when he spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the Civil Rights Act that year."

    Yet another reason WHY I firly believe that when the older generations of senators (read that John McCain) dies off, the world will be a better place.

    December 11, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Chris

    Why does the news reports almost always focus on the game of politics instead of the details of what he is talking about. The article above spent more space detailing whether or not its a filibuster or not. Or, who holds the record for the longest filibuster. What's the crux of Senator Sander's argument? I can guess he want the rich to pay more but why is it important? The past decade or so we have spent money without a care about how anything will get paid for and at least this Senator want to discuss why higher taxes are important...thats a discussion the American people need to have.

    December 11, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. handofdoom

    Enough old farts in Washiongton trying to ruin the USA as it is !

    December 11, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Debbie

    Go Bernie..one of the VERY FEW people in DC actually working FOR THE PEOPLE!

    December 11, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. :-0

    You've gotta be kidding.....SHUT UP!!!!!!

    December 11, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    I hope they kill the bill. I blame the retarded republican (domestic terrorist) for all that has happened to America. They claim to be
    Moral
    Honest
    fiscally responsible
    strong on terror
    pro life
    and pro American
    What are they? None of the above. They are corporate owned
    thieves
    war mongers
    dishonest
    closet gay
    child killing (by way of war)
    Domestic terrorist.
    If you voted for them u r to.

    December 11, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. KM

    If you bottled that hot air, you could mitigate the energy crisis. There's nothing like hating the rich to show you how out of touch such individuals are....

    December 11, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Jack

    I love how the Senate video server shut down because "more than 12,000 users were trying to watch the speech"

    The Senate must have pretty low expectations for the number of people watching their government at work....

    December 11, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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