Speed Reads

DACA debate

Nancy Pelosi's 8-hour DREAMer speech set a new House record, by quite a lot

House rules limit members to 1 minute of speaking time, but nevertheless, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) persisted on Wednesday, using a loophole for congressional leaders to talk uninterrupted for 8 hours and 10 minutes. That crushed the previous House record, a 5 hour, 15 minute harangue against tariff legislation by Rep. James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark (D-Mo.) in 1909.

And Clark fell short in other ways, too, Georgetown University congressional rules expert Joshua Huder tells The Washington Post. "It's important to note that although Clark held the floor for the duration, he was repeatedly interrupted during his remarks." Pelosi, the Post notes, "barely took time to unwrap a mint several hours in and was not interrupted once."

Pelosi spoke about DREAMers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children — from stories she collected starting Wednesday morning, and she threw in Bible verses and demands for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to allow debate on legislation to protect DREAMers, just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has committed to. "Why should we in the House be treated in such a humiliating way when the Republican Senate leader has given that opportunity in a bipartisan way to his membership?" Pelosi asked. "There's something wrong with this picture." She said she won't support a budget deal that doesn't deal with the DREAMer issue.

Pelosi, 77, had to stand for the duration of her speech and could not use the restroom, and she wasn't wearing comfortable shoes:

It wasn't a filibuster, as the House banned those in the 1890s, The Washington Post recounts. Senate filibusters can go quite long — the record for a one-person filibuster is still held by the late Strom Thrumond, who spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes to (unsuccessfully) try to block the Civil Rights Act of 1957.