About this Article
Immediately after blocking Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense, top Republicans took to the Senate floor to claim that, no, they were not filibustering. They just needed more time. A filibuster occurs when a minority of senators declines to vote to invoke what’s called “cloture,” which sets a deadline to complete debate on a nomination or bill and forces an up or down vote. It takes 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to obtain cloture. By that measure, Thursday’s 58-40 vote was a clear-cut filibuster.