What is the U.S. Senate filibuster and why is everyone talking about it?

WASHINGTON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Faced with the risk of the U.S. federal government defaulting on its debt in the next two weeks, President Joe Biden on Tuesday for the first time said he was open to a one-time change in the Senate’s filibuster custom to bypass a Republican roadblock.

Some Senate Democrats this year have suggested changing the rule, which requires 60 of the chamber’s 100 members to agree to pass most legislation, in the face of Republican opposition in the narrowly divided chamber.

Biden spent 36 years in the Senate and had previously said he opposed changes to the filibuster tradition. Tuesday he said it was a “real possibility” Democrats would bypass the filibuster to prevent a debt default.

WHAT IS THE FILIBUSTER?

To “filibuster” means to delay action on a bill or other issue by talking.

The Senate filibuster first captured the American imagination in Frank Capra’s 1939 movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” when Jimmy Stewart’s character spoke for more than a day, and more recently in 2013 when Texas state Senator Wendy Davis spoke for 13 hours to try to block a bill imposing new restrictions on abortion.

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Source: Reuters