The filibuster, once an arcane and rarely used procedural rule, has become a major stumbling block for the passage of legislation in the U.S. Senate. Seeking to thwart a bill, senators turn to it with increasing frequency, in part because waging a filibuster no longer requires a member to actually hold the floor and stage an oratorical marathon. Senate rules require 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to end debate, and in an era of extreme partisanship and divisive politics, that standard is difficult to meet. Political analysts and lawmakers have long debated the usefulness and value of the filibuster, but today the pressure to alter or eliminate it is more intense than ever. Opponents of the filibuster say it thwarts the will of the ...

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