Senate Moves Forward On Spending Bill

The vote came shortly after Senator Ted Cruz wrapped up his 21-hour talkathon in opposition to Barack Obama's healthcare law

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Jason Reed / Reuters

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to the press after leaving the Senate Chamber after a marathon attack on "Obamacare," at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 25, 2013.

The Senate easily cleared the first procedural hurdle in its effort to keep the government funded, voting 100 to 0 Wednesday to begin debate on a temporary spending bill that both chambers of Congress must pass by the end of the month to avert a shutdown.

The vote opens 30 hours of debate on a measure to temporarily extend government funding, setting up a vote as late as this weekend. Both houses of Congress must pass a stopgap funding bill by October 1, or the government will shut down.

The vote came shortly after Senator Ted Cruz wrapped up his 21-hour talkathon in opposition to Barack Obama’s healthcare law. After a speech that ripped his Senate colleagues, the Texas Republican joined them in moving forward toward debating the measure. He said his extended oratory wasn’t about opposing the procedural motion. “This debate was whether Washington is going to listen to the American people,” Cruz said after he stepped off the Senate floor.

Cruz then called for his 45 Republican colleagues to vote against cloture on the House bill that keeps the government running and defunds Obamacare, because Majority Leader Harry Reid will strip out the defund provision. Many Senate Republicans, Cruz acknowledged, have not supported his proposal, which could result in a painful shutdown. “Coming into this debate we clearly were not united. There were significant divisions in the conference,” he said. “I hope those divisions dissolve.”

Cruz’s move may have not changed the course of Senate business, but it attracted widespread media attention. Procedural votes rarely gain national fanfare, but Cruz took the unusual step of speaking on the floor without a bathroom break for 21 hours, which would have been the fourth longest filibuster in Senate history. It technically does not qualify because the speech did not delay the looming vote.

At one point during the speech, Cruz read a bedtime story to his children: Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Before the vote Wednesday, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York told Cruz to take the “moral” of the story and apply it to his position on Obamacare. “Try something before you condemn it,” Schumer said. “You may actually like it.”

40 comments
mustang_will
mustang_will

I just don't get it. Cruz and his faction within the GOP are violently opposed to Obamacare and its provisions, but they aren't offering up a counter solution. I am all for the idea of Republicans bringing something better to the table, but currently their policy is "shoot down anything Obama does, because Obama did it," which is poor leadership. The future of the GOP is at stake as they continue to drive away minorities, the poor and middle classes, and the youth vote by these tactics.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

Shame on Texas.  Crazy Cruz is a disgrace. Shame on Cuba, too.  Shame on Canada.  Who else? 

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

Crazy Cruz and Pitiful Palin need to confer.  There's a whole world of lunatic America who will welcome them.  Just a little pocket, not real Americans.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Cruz looks so Madonna-like in that photo, like a 12th century Christian rendering.

Must be just a coincidence...

outsider
outsider

The GOP has to learn that the minority do not rule, and if they want to run government, they actually have to win. 


Cruz says Washington has to listen to the people; it's more like he has to listen to the people. 

The same people who gave the senate to the dems, and re-elected Obama. 

Like it or not, the GOP is a MINORITY party right now. Suck it up.

jmac
jmac

All Cruz accomplished was making Rand Paul look like the adult in the room.  

yogi
yogi

Reporter: Cruz, Cruz, Cruz, Cruz, Cruz, guess what day it is? Guess. What. Day. It is!

yogi
yogi

Photographer: Senator, Senator a little to the left and I'll get the perfect framing to make it look like a halo is surrounding you in the background. Your fellow TPers will eat this sh*t up. Oh and can I get you to autograph it too?

sacredh
sacredh

Journalists continue their marathon waiting for Cruz to say something worthwhile.

sacredh
sacredh

Cruz: Feelings....Whoooaa, feelings.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Alex, are you one of those who ascribe to the Chuck Todd approach to journalism?

"It technically does not qualify because the speech did not delay the looming vote."

Let me guess: 

You, technically, are a journalist!

anon76
anon76

"which would have been the fourth longest filibuster in Senate history. It technically does not qualify"

He wasn't even alone!  Other Senators spelled him so he could rest his vocal cords.  Honestly, why the media is making this out to be some herculean feat is beyond me.  Most of us have pulled all-nighters at work, most of us actually have something to show for such work, and very few of us get celebrated for it by the press.

carotexas
carotexas

       Alex I would not call this a filibuster.  You might look up Wendy Davis real filibuster so you will know a real one when you see it.

yogi
yogi

Reporter: Now that you've completed the possible, and not stopped obamacare, do you plan on taking a shower?

yogi
yogi

Cruz: Is that the new iPhone 5C? Have I really been away that long? That was one hell of a fugue state.

yogi
yogi

Cruz: I stopped at the wonderful smell of green eggs and a ham this big.

yogi
yogi

Alright since all of us don't really care about this fake filibuster and the media's obsession with Cruz, let's turn this into a 1000 words contest.

paulejb
paulejb

Congratulations to Sen Ted Cruz for providing a lesson in integrity for his 99 colleagues.

anon76
anon76

@mustang_will 

Little known fact:  Obama has actually stopped governing as well, and is now just engaged in an elaborate social experiment wherein he tries to determine if there is anything he can propose that the GOP won't reflexively attack.  Clearly neither a Romney/Heritage Fund health solution nor two Republican Secretaries of Defense were far enough to the right.  Obama's currently thinking about re-animating Reagan's corpse and declaring it "dictator-for-unlife".

anon76
anon76

@formerlyjames

Penelope Cruz and Tom Cruise?

Their surnames are being drug through the muck.

anon76
anon76

@formerlyjames 

It's an apparition- an image of Jefferson Smith facepalming in the Capitol's ceiling tiles.

jmac
jmac

@shepherdwong The American people want gun control.  They want that small Clinton tax on the wealthy.  They don't want Medicare and Social Security privatized.  They want us to pay the bills and keep our good credit.   They want separation of church and state.  They support the public school system.   Too bad Cruz listens to Koch and not the American people.  

fitty_three
fitty_three

@carotexas  

It's isn't even a filibuster in any sense. The speech was not made within the framework of the rules that apply to filibusters.

sacredh
sacredh

Cruz: Senator McCain already gave me a golden one.

anon76
anon76

@yogi 

Could somebody please get me some clean underwear.  I Seussed myself during my filibluster.

bobcn
bobcn

@paulejb

"The rare 100-0 vote on a procedural step means the spending measure that would avoid a partial government shutdown next week now can be amended by Senate Democrats to restore funding for President Barack Obama's signature health care reforms, which had been eliminated last week by House Republicans."

Thank you Mr. Cruz for voting exactly the same as all the rest of the members of the Senate.  If any of your colleagues learned anything from your antics it is how to showboat while not actually accomplishing anything -- other than getting lots of TV time, of course.  Former 1/2 term governor Palin must be sooo jealous.

anon76
anon76

@fitty_three

The first shaming didn't take.  It's not looking good for the second one, either.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@formerlyjames

I think smirky grimaces of bafflement are out over at the Vatican.

New pope and all, you know.

anon76
anon76

@jmac

Speaking of the Clinton tax, I've just recently encountered a new species of GOP/TEA sophistry.  Apparently their new meme is to divide Americans into "Makers" and "Takers", with the new twist being that a "Taker" is anyone who pays less than $20,000 in Federal taxes, since that is the annualized federal spending divided by the tax-eligible American population.  Forget for a moment who actually benefits from the tax money spent (20% of which is military, and 30% of which is SS/MC, which is spent in proportion to people's people's taxes that aren't accounted for on the 1040 form).

The GOP/TEA are now enraged that this means that only 5% of the population qualifies as "Makers", emblematic of their delusions of a nanny state/layabout populace.  The hilarious bit is that the low percentage of taxpayers falling below their arbitrary cutoff is the direct result of GOP/TEA orthodoxy, which states that the cure for all maladies is to lower tax rates.

If we can ever just get this party to lose control of the House and below the level to stage a Senate filibuster, we should keep them around for the unintended satire.

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@bobcn @paulejb Look at that photo of Cruz above, glorying in the press attention. I think that's his "O" face.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@anon76 

Third time's a charm?

Oh, nevermind!  This is Texas we're talking about.