WASHINGTON -- Even in the year of the filibuster, it turns out that slow and steady wins the race.
Though some of his Republican colleagues made marathon stands on the Senate floor in 2013, it is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) who has the distinction of logging the most speaking time, according to estimates from a C-SPAN Video Archives analysis.
Sessions spoke for more than 33 hours this year, the congressional cable network reports, just a few more hours than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who clocked in at roughly 30 hours in 2013.
That’s an impressive distinction considering that Reid opens and closes the Senate most days that it is in session, often making extended opening remarks, while Sessions is a member of the minority party without a formal leadership position.
Sessions, though, is the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee and spoke often during the year’s various fiscal debates. He also was one of the most outspoken opponents of the comprehensive immigration reform bill debated in the first half of the year, and took to the floor often to state his case.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who controlled the floor for more than 21 hours during an all-night speech on Obamacare in September, actually came in at 20 hours of speaking time according to the C-SPAN analysis. Cruz occasionally deferred to supportive colleagues during that quasi-filibuster, which cut down on his floor speaking time. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) controlled the floor for nearly 13 hours in March during a filibuster against CIA director nominee John Brennan, but failed to crack the top five.
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, also logged 20 hours of floor time this year. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Republican whip, spoke for 19 hours.
Sessions, first elected in 1996, is currently serving his third term. He is up for reelection in 2014.