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Cruz knows how to do a long speech

September 25, 2013
Senator Cruz talking Obamacare on Senate floor

Senator Cruz talking Obamacare on Senate floor

Senator Cruz is just over 12 hours into his speech and still going (it is 3am for me as I write this). At first I believed this was a bad approach. I was wrong. Cruz is giving a very long and brilliant speech. The speech may in fact do some good.

It is important to look at what Cruz is hoping to achieve from this speech. At its core this speech began because Senator Reid said he will not allow a vote on the continuing resolution sent from the House as-is. Instead Reid will only allow one amendment (which happens to remove the defund Obamacare language) and then allow a vote. Any other amendments will not be allowed by Reid. Reid will not even consider an amendment from Senator Vitter that would prevent Congress from exempting themselves and their staff from Obamacare costs like other Americans. Cruz (with a lot of help from Sen Lee) has provided a couple of paths that can move the Senate forward on passing the continuing resolution. Senator Reid however is mimicking President Obama by taking a “I will not negotiate” approach. Cruz also mentioned there may be other answers, however the Democrat leadership in the Senate will not open dialogue for debate.

At the same time Cruz has made it hard for Republicans to go along with Reid and make their symbolic votes. I believe this move from Cruz should give him enough support to prevent cloture of debate on the continuing resolution later this week. Reid will try to make this look like Cruz and gang are ‘obstructionists’. However it is Reid that is denying debate on the continuing resolution or any amendments to be added by Republicans. A vote to end cloture under Reids terms is a vote to pass the continuing resolution with the Obamacare defunding language removed. Cruz has brought a great deal of attention to this, making it politically dangerous for Senate Republicans to make any symbolic-only votes.

I will be interested to see how this plays out during the week. If Reid refuses to make any efforts of a compromise there may be a real filibuster at the end of this week. Hopefully at that time the Senate floor will have more than 3 Senators in attendance.

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