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A filibuster is an effort on the part of legislators to
delay or block action on a bill. A filibuster traditionally required a legislator
to extend debate by speaking for hours on end, but other tactics can be used to
prevent a vote on proposed legislation. A legislator, for instance, can offer
procedural motions, ask for a quorum call or demand a time-consuming roll call
vote. Filibusters aren’t permitted in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the
Senate, a filibuster can be ended by using a measure called “{cloture},” which
requires a three-fifths majority vote. Former South Carolina Sen. J. Strom
Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster: He spoke for 24 hours and
18 minutes against a limited civil rights bill in 1957.