parliamentary procedure where debate over a proposed piece of legislation is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on the proposal

Filibuster, also known as talking out a bill,[1] is a tactic of parliamentary procedure. It is a way for one person to delay or entirely prevent debate or votes on a specific proposal.[2]

United States senator of Vermont Bernie Sanders delivered a filibuster to the congress about tax cuts in December 2010


The term "filibuster" comes from the French "filibustier" word meaning "pillaging pirate."[3] In terms of parliamentary procedure, the word was not used until the 19th century[4] However, the use of long speeches as a delaying tactic is part of the history of the Roman Senate. For example, Cato the Younger is known for using filibuster tactics to block Julius Caesar's rise to power.[5]



  1. "MPs renew info exemption effort," BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), 15 May 2007; retrieved 2013-1-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Filibustering," BBC, 1 September 2008; retrieved 2013-1-15.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Reaves, Jessica. [,8599,423312,00.html "The Filibuster Formula," Time (US). February 25, 2003; retrieved 2013-1-15.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Safire, William. (2008). Safire's New Political Dictionary, p. 244.
  5. Goldsworthy, Adrian. (2006). Caesar: Life of a Colossus, pp. 159-160.
  6. Ivison, John. "Time stands still in the House of Commons as NDP filibuster drags on," National Post, June 24, 2011; "Canada Post back-to-work bill passes key vote," CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), June 25, 2011; retrieved 2013-1-15.
  7. "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session".

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