WASHINGTON -- Filibuster or no, Sen. Ted Cruz' 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 health care 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 Obama's law.
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.
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' effort.
"For lack of a better way of describing this, it has been a big waste of time," said Reid, D-Nev.
First Published September 25, 2013 5:30 PM