Sen. Cruz Pulls All-Nighter in Senate over Obamacare
(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has officially pulled an all-nighter in the U.S. Senate as he advocated for the defunding of Obamacare into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Wearing black tennis shoes for comfort, the Texas senator started speaking at 2:41 p.m. on Tuesday and has continued for over 18 hours as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.
"I will say standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there's sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved," Cruz said on the Senate floor. "But you know what? There's far more pain involved in rolling over…far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity."
Senate rules require Cruz to stand throughout his speech but allow him to yield to questions from other senators. Several Republican senators, including Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., helped Cruz with his speech at various points throughout the night. Even Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., chimed in with questions for the Texas senator.
Around 3:33 a.m. Wednesday, Cruz beat the record for the longest speech this year, a record previously held by Paul, who filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director for 12 hours and 52 minutes last March.
After the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution last week, which strips Obamacare of its funding, Cruz vowed to use every procedural measure possible -- including a filibuster -- to keep the Senate from restoring the funding.
But Cruz's overnight speech is technically not a filibuster and won't do much to delay or prevent the votes. The Senate is operating in "auto-pilot" mode and will hold its first procedural vote on the continuing resolution later Wednesday afternoon.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to introduce an amendment at some point which will restore the funding of Obamacare to the continuing resolution. A final vote on passage of the stop-gap spending measure is expected to come late Sunday if all the time for debate is used. This leaves the House of Representatives with less than a day to work on the continuing resolution before the Oct. 1 deadline, at which point the government would shut down.
Cruz has used his marathon session to make the case for why the Affordable Care Act should be defunded in the continuing resolution. He has repeatedly called Obamacare a "train wreck" and read tweets from constituents praising him for his commitment to the issue.
But at times, his speech has turned playful as he read his daughters a bedtime story through C-SPAN.
"I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am," Cruz said quoting Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.
Cruz even quoted popular television show Duck Dynasty and the lyrics of Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue."
"Jeff said 'Faith, family and facial hair,'" Cruz said as he quoted Duck Dynasty. "I point out to the junior senator from Utah, if we continue doing this long enough, we may have facial hair on the floor of the Senate."
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