Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) held a marathon speech on the senate floor to speak against Obamacare, more formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
Cruz began the speech around 2:40 pm EDT and was alone for almost an hour before he was joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
CNN reports that, at the beginning of his speech, Cruz stated, “I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.”
True to his word, the senator was still speaking early Wednesday morning. Cruz has been outspoken against the new healthcare law and was instrumental in a movement to pass a bill that defunds Obamacare while continuing to fund the government.
The bill was passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate was supposed to debate it on Tuesday ahead of a scheduled key procedural vote on Wednesday afternoon. Ted Cruz was joined in his speech by other Republican senators, including Rand Paul of Kentucky, David Vitter from Louisiana, and Marco Rubio, also from Louisiana.
The Los Angeles Times notes that Cruz spoke about Rand Paul’s filibuster earlier this year, saying that it “transformed the debate” about the United States’ drone policy.
It is likely Cruz meant for his speech about Obamacare to do the same thing. He commented that Congress “is held in such disrepute” because both parties “have refused to listen to the people.” The senator added that most Americans oppose the healthcare law.
Cruz’s strategy to force either the defunding of Obamacare or a government shutdown has been met with resistance. While he and his Tea Party allies supported the House bill, not every Republican agrees.
For Wednesday’s vote, which will happen no matter what, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will need 60 votes to break Ted Cruz’s filibuster. Once formal debate begins, only 50 votes are needed to make changes to the House measure. It is likely that, despite Cruz’s efforts, defunding Obamacare will be taken from the bill.
[Image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons]