Three Days From a Shutdown, the Senate Can’t Even Vote About a Vote

An arcane procedure holds up voting for another day

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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.

Anger boiled over on the Senate floor on Thursday when Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee delayed a vote on a spending bill intended to avert a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

“I think the senator from Texas may be confused,” said fellow Republican Senator Bob Corker when Cruz objected to an arcane voting procedure known as the “unanimous consent request.” The procedure asks Senators to shortcircuit the voting process by skipping the formal tally. Of course, it requires their “unanimous consent,” an increasingly alien concept to the 113th Congress. The vote was rescheduled for Friday afternoon.

“Friday is the appropriate time where the American people can be engaged,” Cruz said in a press conference. So tune in Friday to see if the bill gets lobbed from the Senate back to the House, where top Republican officials are already objecting to it before having seen it, while Democrats insist the time for talking is over. If it passes, just enough funds should be released to keep the government running until Nov. 15, the next looming deadline.

[Los Angeles Times]