WASHINGTON, September 24, 2013 — Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas began his floor speech in support of defunding ObamaCare on Tuesday at 2:41pm ET, saying that he would speak “until I am no longer able to stand.” This is technically not a filibuster because there is no delay in action on a bill being forestalled, and Cruz must stop speaking by noon Wednesday.
“I rise today to speak for 26 million Texans and 300 million Americans,” Cruz began. He is determined to see a continuing resolution (CR) pass the Senate that does not continue to fund ObamaCare. On the floor, he read letters from constituents and small business owners throughout the country explaining the detrimental effect that ObamaCare would have on their businesses and their employees. The lost jobs, unpaid rent, increasing health care premiums, jobs cut to under 30 hours, businesses not expanding and catastrophic results of the law will hurt “the little guy” the most, Cruz argued.
Americans do not want ObamaCare, according to the polls. Rasmussen reports that 51% of Americans fear the law will make healthcare worse, and 54% expect health costs to rise under ObamaCare. In addition, 62% believe the free market is the best way to reduce healthcare costs. Perhaps most importantly, 56% want the individual mandate delayed and 51% support shutting down government to avoid funding ObamaCare. The American people clearly stand with Sen. Cruz, but many Republican senators appear absent in the face of his challenge to the law.
Senators’ websites are predominantly mum on the issue of supporting the effort to defund. It is known that Senators Cruz, Inhofe (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Roberts (R-KS), Rubio (R-FL), Sessions (R-AL) and Vitter (R-LA) oppose cloture.
As the site DontFundObamaCare.com explains: “Harry Reid plans to use a procedural trick to fund Obamacare with only 50 votes, but first he needs 6 Republican votes on “cloture” to approve the process. Tell the Republicans to OPPOSE cloture to stop Harry Reid’s plan to fund Obamacare. Tell them a vote for cloture is a vote to fund Obamacare.”
Republican Senators Alexander (TN), Barrasso (WY), Boozman (AR), Chambliss (GA), Coats (IN), Cochran (MS), Collins (ME), Hoeven (ND), Isakson (GA), Johanns (NE), Murkowski (AK) and Wicker (MS) voted for a bill earlier this year that funded ObamaCare, according to the Senate Conservative Fund (SCF), and will likely do so again unless they receive enough pressure from constituents.
In addition, Republican Senators Ayotte (NH), Enzi (WY), Grassley (IA), Chiesa (NJ), Crappo (ID), Fischer (NE), Kirk (IL), Moran (KS), Risch (ID) and Thune (SD) said they oppose all funding to ObamaCare, according to the SCF, but need to be encouraged to vote against cloture.
Sen. Portman (R-OH) supported the House bill defunding ObamaCare, but has not made his decision on his vote in the Senate public.
Sen. Shelby (R-AL) called the effort to defund ObamaCare “foolish,” and Sen. Blunt (R-MO) said, “No, I don’t support [the effort to defund ObamaCare].” Likewise, Sen. Burr (R-NC) said the push to defund ObamaCare is “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Sen. Heller (R-NV) opposes ObamaCare, but has not pledged to defund it.
When asked to join the fight to defund ObamaCare, Sen. Flake (R-AZ) replied in a tweet, “Oh, whatever…”. The senior senator from that same state, John McCain (R), said the push is a “shenanigan.” Sen. Coburn (R-OK) calls the effort “dishonest” and Sen. Corker (TN) said it’s a “silly effort.”
According to the SCF, Sen. Toomey (R-PA) says that defunding Obamacare in the CR will not stop the mandatory spending in the law, but this is not the case. The mandatory spending is halted in the House version of the CR. And, Sen. Graham (SC) says defunding ObamaCare is a “bridge too far.” Also, Sen. Scott (R-SC) says he opposes the CR regardless, but his position on the cloture vote is unsure.
Sen. Hatch (UT) said about defunding ObamaCare, “I don’t think that’s the way to do it.”
Entirely tone deaf to the desires of the American people, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to support the cloture vote along with Sen. John Cornyn (R), the senior senator from Texas. These are two of the six Republican votes the Democrats will need to invoke cloture.
In an interesting political move, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is fundraising off of Sen. Cruz’s efforts. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said today, “In a fight between Harry Reid and Ted Cruz, I will stand with Ted Cruz any day.” It is unfortunate that there aren’t more Republican senators with the same wisdom.
The GOP senators who are not supporting Sen. Cruz and who vote in favor of cloture will only further the argument that there is no difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. When your preference is choosing the favor of your colleagues over listening to the American people, you should no longer be serving in D.C., regardless of political party.
ObamaCare must be defunded now. The idea that a political touchdown can be scored if the law is fully implemented and collapses upon itself is a selfish, elitist view that only those who have exempted themselves from the law could possibly fathom as the best solution. One cannot recall the last time that a tax, which we now know ObamaCare to be, was reversed or repealed.
Sen. Cruz encourages Americans to tweet with #MakeDCListen, and to send public tweets to senators using #DefundObamaCare. With the votes taking place this week, now is your opportunity to “#StandWithCruz” and to demand that your senators, especially Republican senators, do the same.
Americans will remember which senators voted not to stand with Sen. Cruz, and supported the complete disregard for the will of the people.
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