John McCain delivers the Democratic response to Cruz

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That headline is Justin Amash’s joke, not mine, but it’s not much of an exaggeration. This is, essentially, the Democratic response: ObamaCare was duly passed, it was an issue in a presidential campaign that the GOP lost, end of story — whether or not there are 51 or even 60 votes in the Senate to defund this thing. He actually used the phrase “elections have consequences,” which must be the first time a member of the *minority* party has ever tossed that into a debate. Like Ramesh Ponnuru says, weren’t Ted Cruz and Mike Lee elected too?

Watching this was the first time I felt that he might be serious about retiring in 2016. The reaction to it on Twitter among righties, even those who have criticized Cruz for his “defund” strategy, was more uniformly, stridently negative than the response to any other display of maverick-iness in recent memory. And understandably so: There’s no reason for McCain to go out and carry Obama’s and Reid’s water on this except his own antipathy to Cruz, Paul, and the other “wacko birds.” It’s not merely the betrayal, it’s the pettiness of it. More so than even Mitch McConnell or Boehner, I think he’s become public enemy number one among Republicans for tea partiers. He’ll have a ferocious primary challenge in three years, and if he intends to defeat it, at some point he’ll have to start making nice with the Cruz/Paul contingent. I think he’d rather quit and enjoy the rest of his term sticking thumbs in their eyes.

“Elections have consequences” was only half the speech, though. The other half has Maverick in high dudgeon over Cruz wondering yesterday whether the opponents of his “defund” strategy would have also, ahem, stood up to Hitler. Given how many interventionists there are on the other side of him on this issue, I’m … reasonably sure that most would have. It’s a lame Godwinian flourish, although RINO-haters no doubt will consider the comparison insulting to Neville Chamberlain, if anything. But seriously: After more than 21 hours of Cruz talking about ObamaCare, the key part of his speech that McCain feels obliged to put front and center with America watching is … a throwaway line about Nazi appeasers? This is what Maverick decided he needed to do with his precious moments on the floor and his credibility as a so-called “reasonable Republican”? Retirement can’t come too soon.

Video: McCain delivers the Democratic response to Cruz « Hot Air.

Here’s What The Next Steps In The Government Shutdown Fight Are, And Why Ted Cruz Voted ‘Yes’ Today



Ted Cruz

REUTERS/Jason Reed

In a rare moment for the United States Senate, the “world’s greatest deliberative body” has voted, unanimously, on something.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 100-0 on the motion to proceed to debate the House of Representatives-passed continuing resolution to keep the government funded. The vote came about an hour after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) finished his 21-plus-hour speech in opposition to including Obamacare funding in the continuing resolution. 

Cruz, along with every other Republican senator that accompanied him on the floor during his speech, voted in favor of invoking cloture on the motion to proceed. 

This sounds confusing — after all, Cruz just spent nearly an entire day railing against passage of the bill. But this was Cruz’s plan all along. He opposes invoking cloture to end debate on the bill — that vote will come either Friday or Saturday. 

Here’s what Cruz said on the Senate floor Tuesday (emphasis added):

“The central vote the Senate will take on this fight will not occur today and it will not occur tomorrow. The first vote we are going to take on this is a vote on what is called cloture on the motion to proceed. Very few people not on this floor have any idea what that means and even, I suspect, a fair number of people on this floor are not quite sure what that means. That will simply be a vote whether to take up this bill and to begin debating this bill. I expect that vote to pass overwhelmingly, if not unanimously. Everyone agrees we ought to take this up, we ought to start this conversation. 

The next vote we take will occur on Friday or Saturday and it will be on what is called cloture on the bill. That is the vote that matters. Cloture on the bill, the vote Friday or Saturday, is the vote that matters.

Because the cloture vote has now passed, there’s now a 30-hour shot clock in the Senate that allows for debate on the bill. 

Cruz signaled a willingness on Wednesday to accelerate parliamentary procedure so that the Senate could hold that all-important vote — on cloture to end debate — on Friday, so that more people would be paying attention. 

This is the vote that “matters” — and it’s also where things will get awkward. At this point, the bill will still have the House language that strips funding for Obamacare, which is what conservatives have pressed for all summer.

At the same time, Cruz and other conservatives realize that Senate rules make it possible for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to introduce his amendment stripping the language that defunds Obamacare. And he will only need a majority vote for the amendment to pass.

Republicans’ choice, then, is to either filibuster the bill that includes the language they wanted — and essentially endorse a government shutdown — or to essentially allow Reid to be able to introduce the amendment and strip the language.

Read more:

Government Shutdown, Ted Cruz And Obamacare: Where Senate Goes Now – Business Insider.

Senate Votes 100-0 to Take Up CR as Cruz Shows Signs of Bending on Schedule

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The Senate voted 100-0 to take up the House-passed continuing resolution Wednesday, while Sen. Ted Cruz indicated a willingness to accelerate the timetable for  the more important vote to cut off debate on the bill.

The Texas Republican has long said that the real test will come on the vote to limit debate on the underlying bill, after which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could get the simple majority vote to strike defunding of the health care law.

If all the debate time is used, that would come on Saturday, although Cruz seems to be expressing a new willingness to truncate the debate time. At the end of his marathon floor talk Wednesday, he floated a series of consent agreements that could shorten the dayslong timeline for final Senate approval of a stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown next week.

Though it is unclear whether leaders will accept Cruz’s offers, the fact that Cruz moved at all from his original position that the Senate should take up full debate time to Sunday could mark progress toward avoiding a shutdown. Many, including most Senate Republicans, view government shutdown as an unavoidable outcome unless the GOP cedes debate time. On Wednesday morning, Cruz offered to open debate on the House-approved continuing resolution by unanimous consent as long as the majority agreed to hold the vote to cut off debate on Friday, so more people might pay attention to it.

The potential procedure changes — which have not yet been accepted by Democrats — come a day after Cruz faced intense pressure from colleagues in consecutive, fractious caucus meetings. The vast majority of Senate Republicans on Tuesday wanted to consent to shorten debate time so that House Republicans would have more time to consider whatever the Senate dispatches and potentially send it back to the Senate again for final passage. Cruz told colleagues on Tuesday, to their dismay, that he would object to any request to shorten the timeline.

Some fiscal conservatives, such as Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., have been so frustrated by Cruz’s antics that they have vowed to switch their votes on cloture from “no” to “yes,” despite their beliefs that spending levels are too high, largely as a sign of protest against the Texas freshman.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told Cruz on the floor that the Senate would proceed with its vote Wednesday to open debate. Reid appeared visibly frustrated, both by Cruz’s apparent lack of understanding that he was entitled to the floor until 1 p.m. and by Cruz’s tone in addressing him. He did not appear prepared to negotiate with Cruz on the floor over the schedule. But if Cruz gives Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., his blessing to truncate the schedule, Reid would come under pressure to agree, lest Democrats appear as if they are trying to jam House Republicans and induce a government shutdown. If the schedule stands as it is now, by rules, the Senate would vote on final passage Sunday, leaving the House with about one day to approve a bill or send it back to the Senate, before the current CR expires.

#WGBD will continue to update as more details become available, so stick around.

Senate Votes 100-0 to Take Up CR as Cruz Shows Signs of Bending on Schedule | The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

Senator Ted Cruz Talks About Defunding Obamacare

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Filibuster the House CR? Cruz, Other Conservatives Say ‘Yes’

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Updated 1:20 p.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that Republican senators should, in effect, filibuster the House-passed continuing resolution in the Senate.

The Texas Republican is calling on his colleagues to oppose limiting debate on it, warning against what he calls procedural trickery.

“Step two is the Senate, where all accounts suggest Harry Reid plans to use procedural gimmicks to try to add funding back in for Obamacare,” Cruz said. “If Reid pursues this plan — if he insists on using a 50-vote threshold to fund Obamacare with a partisan vote of only Democrats — then I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.”


“Now is a time for party unity; Senate Republicans should stand side-by-side with courageous House Republicans,” Cruz said.

The statement underscores the unwinnable procedural hand faced by conservative senators, however. They know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will move to strike out the Obamacare defunding language after getting the 60 votes needed to limit debate, but they can’t stop him without effectively endorsing a government shutdown.

The Nevada Democrat’s move is completely in keeping with long-standing Senate rules. Pending germane amendments and motions, such as a motion to strike, are allowed simple-majority votes after debate’s been limited.

“Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government, or force a shutdown. I have said it before but it seems to bear repeating: The Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare,” Reid said in a Friday statement.

Cruz’s latest move appeared to be a reaction to criticism from House Republicans for seeming to admit defeat before they had even sent the Senate the CR.

Cruz’s statement also came shortly after the head of the Senate Conservatives Fund said likewise.

“Harry Reid needs 60 votes to approve his plan to fund Obamacare. If 41 Republicans stand strong and oppose cloture, they can defeat Reid’s plan to fund Obamacare. However, if Republicans waffle and vote for cloture, it will grease the skids for Reid’s plan to fund Obamacare. It’s pretty simple — any Republican who votes for cloture is voting to fund Obamacare,” SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins said.

Filibuster the House CR? Cruz, Other Conservatives Say ‘Yes’ (Updated) | The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.