Senate Advances Spending Bill After Marathon Cruz Speech

Image: Senate Advances Spending Bill After Marathon Cruz Speech

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 12:32 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Filibuster or no, Sen. Ted Cruz's marathon speech on the Senate floor made one point: Obamacare had to go. But when the freshman senator finally stopped talking Wednesday after 21 hours and 19 minutes, he was no closer to killing President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.

The Senate promptly advanced legislation required to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Monday, and is expected to strip from that crucial bill the provision to defund Obamacare.

Weary after a day and night on his feet, Cruz simply sat down at 12 noon EDT on Wednesday, the predetermined time for the Senate to adjourn, as several of his colleagues applauded. Senate Republicans and some House members congratulated the Texas freshman.

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Cruz actually joined every other senator in a 100-0 procedural vote to allow the measure to officially go before the Senate. He says Republicans should rally against the measure in a vote scheduled Friday or Saturday on whether to cut off a filibuster on the measure itself, a vote that promises to give Democrats controlling the chamber a procedural edge if Cruz is not successful in blocking them.

Cruz wants to derail the spending bill to deny Democrats the ability to strip a "defund Obamacare" provision out, a strategy that has put him at odds with other Republicans who fear that the move would spark a shutdown. After the vote, Cruz told reporters he hopes "that Republicans will listen to the people, and that all 46 Republicans come together. Coming into this debate we clearly were not united, there were significant divisions in the conference. I hope those divisions dissolve, that we come together in party unity."

The Senate's top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid, shrugged off Cruz's effort.

"For lack of a better way of describing this, it has been a big waste of time," said Reid, D-Nev.

Since Tuesday afternoon, Cruz — with occasional remarks by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other GOP conservatives — has controlled the Senate floor and railed against Obamacare. When he finally sat down, Cruz and his allies had talked for more than 21 hours, the fourth-longest Senate speech since precise record-keeping began in 1900.

That exceeded March's 12-hour, 52-minute speech by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., like Cruz a tea party lawmaker and potential 2016 presidential contender, and filibusters by such Senate icons as Huey Long of Louisiana and Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

The filibuster is a time-honored delaying tactic to prevent the Senate from passing legislation. However, Reid and others disputed that Cruz's speech was a real filibuster because the procedural vote forced an automatic end to the debate.

With no food or restroom breaks, his tie finally loosened, Cruz was helped by eight of his conservative allies who gave him brief respites by asking lengthy questions as permitted under Senate rules, though he was required to remain on his feet.

In a reflection of the limited GOP support for Cruz's effort, no members of the Senate leadership came to the Texan's aid.

Cruz said he has learned that defying party leaders is "survivable," adding, "Ultimately, it is liberating" and that his long evening involved "sometimes some pain, sometimes fatigue."

But he added, "You know what? There's far more pain in rolling over. ... Far more pain in not standing up for principle."

Republican leaders and several rank-and-file GOP lawmakers had opposed Cruz's time-consuming effort with the end of the fiscal year looming. Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to speed Senate action so that that the GOP-controlled House would have enough time to respond to the Senate's eventual action.

Two financial deadlines loom — keeping the government operating after Oct. 1 and raising the nation's borrowing authority. In a letter to Congress on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government will have exhausted its borrowing authority by Oct. 17, leaving the United States with just $30 billion cash on hand to pay its bills.

That's a slightly worse financial position than Treasury predicted last month and it adds to the pressure on Congress to increase the government's borrowing cap to avert a first-ever U.S. default on its obligations.

The House-passed measure is required to prevent a government shutdown after midnight Monday and contains a tea party-backed provision to "defund" implementation of what's come to be known as "Obamacare". Cruz is opposed to moving ahead on it under debate terms choreographed by Democrats to defeat the Obamacare provision.

Cruz has angered many GOP colleagues who complain privately that the freshman has set impossible expectations at the expense of other Republicans. Some of Cruz's leading allies include organizations like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth, organizations which frequently donate money to conservatives challenging more moderate Republicans in primaries.

In a direct rebuttal to Cruz, Republican Sen. John McCain offered a history lesson on how Republicans had tried to stop the health care law in 2009 and rejected Cruz's statement equating those unwilling to vote to stop Obamacare with Nazi appeasers.

"I resoundingly reject that allegation," McCain said. "It does a great disservice to those Americans who stood up and said what's happening in Europe cannot stand."

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Under pressure from Cruz and tea party activists, House GOP leaders added the anti-Obamacare language to the funding measure despite fears it could spark a partial government shutdown that could hurt Republicans in the run-up to midterm elections next year — just as GOP-driven government shutdowns in 1995-96 helped revive the political fortunes of President Bill Clinton.

"I just don't believe anybody benefits from shutting the government down, and certainly Republicans don't," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. "We learned that in 1995."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

GOP: ISIS Threat Stems From Obama Inaction on Syria

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 21:17 PM

The beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State and the widespread attacks on President Barack Oba . . .

U.S. Job Market Is Beginning to Look Like Europe's: Clive Crook

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 09:33 AM

 . . .

FBI Investigating Reports of Cyberattacks on US Banks

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 07:03 AM

The FBI said Wednesday it's working with the Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyberattacks aga . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved