The following is a fact-check from the July 25, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:
MARC MORIAL (Urban League President) | There have been more filibusters in the last two years than in the previous century – FALSE
MR. MORIAL: One of the things this distracts from is the news of the week that the Senate cut out $1 billion for summer jobs, but is prepared to spend $60 billion on a troop surge if — in Afghanistan. One of the things this distracts from has been the repeated use of the filibuster to block legislation and block measures that would help the economy in urban communities, and that, to me…
MR. MORIAL: …that, to me, and the persistent use of the filibuster, it being used more times in the last two years than in the previous century…
Even in the early days, representatives and senators used the filibuster to stall debate indefinitely. In 1917, US senators adopted a rule that allowed the debate to end by a 2/3 majority vote, which is known as cloture. Then, in 1975, senators reduced the number of votes required for cloture from 2/3 to 3/5 or 60 of the 100 senators.
According to the Senate historian’s office, which provides a list of the cloture votes since 1919, there were 553 cloture votes between 1919 and 2000. Currently, the 111th Congress (2008-2010) has had 65 cloture votes. Since the records of cloture votes held by the Senate historian’s office only goes back to 1919, we could not tally up the total amount of cloture votes for the previous century (100 years), but we are still able to do this check because from 1919 to 2000 there were 553 cloture votes and in the last 2 years, there has only been 65 cloture votes.
It is worth noting, however, that over the last 30 years the filibuster’s use has been increasing. The 110th Congress (2006 to 2008) tallied up a total of 112 cloture votes – the most ever recorded for a Congress. In the previous century, it took 81 years to have 553 cloture votes and in the last decade, there have been 341.
Regardless, because there were a total of 551 cloture votes between the years 1919 and 2000 and only 65 cloture votes in the last 2 years, we rate Mr. Morial’s statement FALSE.
The following fact-check took a combined 2.5 hours.