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Definition: A filibuster is a procedural tactic that is used to extend debate, delay a vote, or prevent legislative action. It is used in the U.S. Senate to require 60 members to vote in favor of “cloture” to bring legislation up for consideration. The House can cut off debate with a simple majority vote.

History: The word “filibuster” is derived from the Spanish term filibustero which means “freebooting” and the Dutch word vrijbuiter meaning “pirate.”