Happening Now: Sen. Sanders' Filibuster Of The Tax Deal
Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-VT, is on the floor of the Senate right now to -- in his office's words -- "speak as long as possible against a tax deal between the White House and congressional Republicans."
C-SPAN.org has streaming coverage here. He's been going for about 90 minutes now.
The leader of the party that Sanders caucuses with, Democratic President Obama, told NPR yesterday that despite opposition from many liberals such as Sanders in Congress, he's "confident" the deal will get passed.
Here's what Sanders has to say about what he's doing:
"You can call what I am doing today whatever you want, you it call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech. I'm not here to set any great records or to make a spectacle. I am simply here today to take as long as I can to explain to the American people the fact that we have got to do a lot better than this agreement provides."
Update at 7:55 p.m. ET: Sanders' filibuster has ended, about 8 1/2 hours after he took to the floor of Senate. As The Washington Post says, "Sanders provided the emotional touchstone of the day for opponents" of the tax deal. And indeed, he's rated a red banner headline -- "Weekend At Bernie's" -- over at the liberal Huffington Post. And the liberal Daily Kos calls it an AMAZING AND INSPIRING DAY!!!!" (their CAPS and punctuation, not ours).
The conservative Hot Air, by the way, summed up how others felt differently: "Bernie Sanders going to talk until this country turns socialist, damn it."
Update at 3:30 p.m. ET: The "very long speech" continues. And Sanders is getting attention. Not only have the cable news networks gotten on to the story, but "Bernie Sanders" is trending high on Twitter. There's a "support Bernie's filibuster" page up on Facebook now.
The Hill passes along word that Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, has also spoken up in support of Sanders' effort. And, The Hill reminds us that "the record for the longest filibuster is held by the late Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-SC, who spoke for 24 hours in 18 minutes to block a landmark civil rights bill." That happened in 1957.
Update at 1:50 p.m. ET: Among the senators standing up to support Sanders is Mary Landrieu, D-LA, who has also been vocal in her opposition to the deal.
Update at 4:40 p.m. ET: The senator is continuing to talk, invoking the memory of President Teddy Roosevelt and his trust-busting efforts. Sanders says that it is time to break up the banks that are "too big to fail."
Update at 6:20 p.m. ET: While The Two-Way is winding down for the day and looking forward to the weekend, Sen. Sanders is still going strong on the floor of the Senate chamber. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.