Sanders: Oratory not a filibuster

Dec. 11, 2010 at 10:40 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent and self-described democratic socialist, says his actions Friday were not a filibuster.

Sanders spoke for more than 8 hours on the Senate floor Friday discussing the temporary extension of Bush-era tax cuts President Obama and Republicans agreed to, CNN reported.

"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," Sanders said. "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."

Sanders' speech technically wasn't a filibuster but does show how strongly some Democrats disagree with the deal Obama made with Republicans.

Obama has said he had to agree to extend the cuts for two years to get a 13-month extension on unemployment benefits.

The senator's efforts didn't set any records, the report said.

The record for the longest floor speech belongs to the late Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. In 1957 he spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the Civil Rights Act that year.

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