Updated 7:22 p.m. ET
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) finally yielded the Senate floor Friday evening after nearly nine hours of speaking against the Obama tax cut plan. He was spelled briefly by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) but otherwise had the floor to himself for the bulk of a day when there was no other Senate business pending.
About three hours ago, just as he took the Senate floor, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) staff, tweeted: “You can call what i am doing today whatever you want, you it [sic] call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech…”
And he’s been speaking, almost uninterrupted, ever since.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Block That Bill! A History Of The Filibuster]
It’s a filibuster as filibusters were originally intended — and, as such, makes a mockery of what the filibuster’s become: a gimmick that allows a minority of senators to quietly impose supermajority requirements on any piece of legislation.
Joined at different times by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sanders has been decrying the Obama tax cut plan for bailing out the wealthiest people in America. “How can I get by on one house?” Sanders railed, sarcastically. “I need five houses, ten houses. I need three jet planes to take me all over the world! Sorry, American people. We’ve got the money, we’ve got the power.”
As a result of his efforts, he’s shot up to near the top Twitter trending topic chart. Filibusters like these were much more common decades ago, before the rules changed and Senators could really run out the clock by holding the floor and talking and talking without pause. Things are different today — and, whatever Sanders does, the Senate isn’t scheduled to hold any votes until Monday, so its practical effects may not amount to much.
If you’ve got the time, C-SPAN’s got the video of Sanders’ entire eight-plus hour marathon speech right here.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.