Where Democrat's talkathon fits in Senate history

AP News
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Posted: Apr 05, 2017 2:33 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is famous for marathon speeches. Some are obstructive filibusters to delay or scuttle legislation or a presidential nominee, while others are just unusually long speeches.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley's action "holding the floor" for more than 15 hours Tuesday night into Wednesday morning wasn't a filibuster under Senate rules, but his remarks protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch certainly made the list of lengthiest Senate speeches.

A look at the longest U.S. Senate filibusters and speeches since 1900, when the Senate began keeping precise records:

—24 hours, 18 minutes: Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, civil rights bill, 1957

—23 hours, 30 minutes: Alfonse D'Amato of New York, military bill, 1986

—22 hours, 26 minutes: Wayne Morse of Oregon, Tidelands oil bill, 1953

—21 hours, 19 minutes: Ted Cruz of Texas, health care bill, 2013

—18 hours, 23 minutes: Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin, currency bill, 1908

—16 hours, 12 minutes: William Proxmire of Wisconsin, debt increase, 1981

—15 hours, 30 minutes: Huey Long of Louisiana, industrial recovery, 1935

—15 hours, 27 minutes: Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, 2017

—15 hours, 14 minutes: D'Amato, tax bill, 1992

—14 hours, 50 minutes: Chris Murphy of Connecticut, gun control, 2016

—14 hours, 13 minutes: Robert Byrd of West Virginia, civil rights bill, 1964

—12 hours, 52 minutes: Rand Paul of Kentucky, use of drones against American citizens, 2013

—10 hours, 31 minutes: Paul, renewal of Patriot Act, 2015

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Onscreen in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington":

Nearly 24 hours: Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), Willet Dam, 1939

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Source: Senate Historical Office, Columbia Pictures.