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In talk-a-thon, Sanders skewers tax cut deal

From Carrie Dann and Ken Strickland
Yup, folks. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, is trending on Twitter.

Sanders, currently in his fifth hour of speaking on the Senate floor against the Obama-crafted tax cut compromise with Republicans, is getting lots of web buzz from filibuster enthusiasts and progressives irked at the president for cutting the deal.

An independent who caucuses with Democrats, Sanders has threatened to speak out against the extension of cuts for the very wealthy – which he called “a moral outrage” earlier this week – for “as long as possible” on the Senate floor.

“You can call what I am doing today whatever you want,” he said. “You can it call it a filibuster, you can call it a very long speech.”

He’s received assists from Sen. Mary Landrieu and Sen. Sherrod Brown, who have joined in the talk-a-thon to excoriate Republicans for demanding the extension of tax cuts for America’s highest earners.

As fun as the comparisons to the filibuster mounted by heroic do-gooder Sen. Jefferson Smith in the Jimmy Stewart-starring Mr. Smith Goes To Washington are, however, it’s worth pointing out that Sanders’ speech isn’t actually stopping any particular Senate business from happening today.

There are no votes scheduled today, nor are there other senators wishing to speak.

If it were a true filibuster, he would be blocking Republicans from conducting business or speaking. And those Republicans would be angry.

But Republican senators aren't even in the chamber today. Not one has been or the floor or sought time to talk on the floor.

Sanders is one of many senators whose objections will require a cloture vote to break the filibuster on Monday. And his roadblock of the bill would be in place whether he’d spoken for seven minutes or seven hours today.

Still, it makes for great CSPAN-2 viewing.

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