Ted Cruz officially pulls an all-nighter

September 24, 2013

Updated 5:00 a.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) started talking Tuesday afternoon and by early Wednesday morning was still going.


(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Texas senator had spoken for more than 14 hours at 5 a.m., surpassing the lengths of more traditional filibusters given by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March and by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) in 1964.

And Cruz also reached another notable milestone by prompting an official all-night session of the Senate.

Any session of the Senate that continues until 4 a.m. or later is considered an official all-nighter by the Senate Historian. Sure, there might be sessions that go until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., but for record-keeping purposes, they don't count towards the official tally.

There have been 32 all-night sessions since 1915, beginning with a 54-hour session devoted to consideration of the Ship Purchase Act, according to the Senate historian. In the years since, the Senate has kept the lights on overnight to continue debating appropriations bills, judicial nominations, an atomic energy measure, civil rights legislation (three times in the 1950s and 1960s), and in 1986, when lawmakers sought to override Ronald Reagan's veto of a bill imposing sanctions on South Africa for its apartheid policies.

A 50-hour session in 1950 caused Sen. William Langer (R-N.D.) to collapse during a filibuster on the veto of a Communist registration bill, according to the historian. More recently, the Senate stayed in session for more than 53 hours in 2003, during the fight over judicial nominations, and in 2007, during debate over the war in Iraq.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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