Senate Votes To Open Debate On House Continuing Resolution
The Senate unanimously voted to begin debate on the House of Representatives’ Continuing Resolution, which includes language that “defunds” the Affordable Care Act:
The country woke up to Ted Cruz still holding the floor of the U.S. Senate, but on Wednesday afternoon the upper chamber moved on.
The Senate voted unanimously, 100-0, on a procedural vote to advance a House-passed spending bill that defunds Obamacare. That movement sets up a series of votes that will most likely send the bill back to the House without the Obamacare provision after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) strips it out.
The Texas freshman eclipsed the 21-hour mark of his passionate speech in support of defunding Obamacare that began Tuesday afternoon, placing his Ironman performance among the longest Senate speeches in modern history. Cruz is attempting to delay Reid from advancing a House-passed spending bill that defunds Obamacare, wary of the leader’s ability to strip out the defunding language.
Reid repeatedly asked Cruz to speed up the process to avoid dropping a spending bill back in the House’s lap just hours before a government shutdown.
“For lack of a better way of describing this, it has been a big waste of time,” Reid said. “We could finish this bill within a matter of hours. But instead we find ourselves being pushed closer and closer to another shutdown.”
“Your exercise was meaningless,” piled on Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Cruz and his allies currently have the Senate on a slow roll to a Sunday final passage of the bill if they do not relent in the delay tactics. Under that scenario, the next roll call will be a simple majority vote on the motion to proceed on the bill Thursday, when Reid is expected to file an amendment to the House bill that strips out the defunding language and changes the expiration date of the continuing resolution from Dec. 15 to Nov. 15.
After the intervening day of Friday, the Senate would then take a cloture vote on Saturday to end debate on the bill, which is where Cruz, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and several other senators are urging a “no” vote to keep Reid from amending the bill. Cruz is at odds with leaders like McConnell, Blunt and GOP Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), all of whom believe a “yes” vote at the stage is in support of a bill defunding Obamacare.
If Cruz and others drag the clock out like this, it’s going to be hard to avoid a shutdown.