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.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    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.

    Speaking as a person who missed Ted’s entire waste of oxygen and bandwidth, I have to say that it was deeply inspirational and it inspired me make plans to miss the next 21 hour waste of oxygen that Ted plans.

  2. Nikki says:

    After declaring that a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare, Cruz votes for Obamacare so that he can tell his constituents he voted for defunding. Guess he’s not as brave and principled as we’ve all been told.

  3. Scott says:

    He voted for it before he voted against it. Or some such thing. I love it when BS talking points can be flipped.

  4. @Nikki:

    The Motion to Proceed was never the cloture vote that Cruz was talking about. He’s focused on the one to close debate that will occur on Friday or Saturday.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Cruz didn’t even rise to the level of speed bump.

  6. grumpy realist says:

    I wonder, does Cruz intend to do these sorts of fauxlibusters every time a bill shows up in the Senate?

    If he’s going to try to keep himself in front of the TV cameras until the next election cycle, he’s going to have to, right?

    Methinks the Tea Partiers will have found another Great White Hope by then. If Cruz is going to want to continue to keep their attention, he’s going to have to steadily up the volume. But where do you go after you’ve started at DEFCOM 11?

  7. mantis says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The Motion to Proceed was never the cloture vote that Cruz was talking about.

    Wrong. He only said it a few hundred times. Here he is on Fox:

    Any vote for cloture, any vote to allow Harry Reid to add funding to Obamacare with just a 51-vote threshold, a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare.”

    The cloture vote “to allow Harry Reid to add funding to Obamacare with just a 51-vote threshold” just happened. Cruz, by his own standards, just voted for Obamacare.

  8. LaurenceB says:

    I’m not an expert on Congressional proceedings. If someone else is, please chime in.

    Who is right – mantis or Doug? I suspect it’s mantis, but I’m not 100% certain.

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @LaurenceB:

    Doug is correct, and Mantis is correct. A motion to proceed (actually a motion to proceed to consider), almost always offered by the Majority Leader, brings a matter to the floor for debate. MTPTC are debatable, and therefore vulnerable to filibuster, so you can wind up with a debate (filibuster) about whether to have a debate. MTPTC are normally a simple majority vote, but if a senator (like Cruz) is determined to stop the MTPTC by means of a filibuster, a cloture vote becomes necessary in order to shut him up and have the vote on the motion to proceed.

    Once approved, the Senate then begins to debate, amend and vote on the actual bill itself.

    Cloture is simply a means to impose a time limit on a debate, ANY debate (including an MTPTC, which is essentially a debate about whether to have a debate), occurring on the Senate floor.

    Short version: MTPTC starts debate on a bill; cloture ends it.