Unpassable GOP plan: Delay Obamacare for a year

Sen. Ted Cruz kept on talking, but the symbolic speech won't stop a key vote on a spending bill to avert a government shutdown.

By MSNMoney partner Sep 25, 2013 11:11AM

Image: Dollar bills floating over U.S. Capitol © CorbisBy Eric Pianin and Josh Boak
The Fiscal Times logo

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, just kept going.


The firebrand tea party freshman took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to deliver a pyrrhic filibuster-like speech intended to stop the chamber from amending a temporary spending measure passed last Friday by House Republicans. Cruz's symbolic speech won't stop a procedural vote on the spending bill scheduled to take place on Wednesday.


Cruz was instrumental in goading the House to approve a bill that keeps the government operating beyond Sept. 30, but also cuts off funds to implement the Affordable Care Act.

But after the Texas Republican acknowledged he had no way to prevent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., from stripping out the anti-Obamacare language and sending the measure back to the House just before Monday's deadline, Cruz -- a collegiate debater -- shifted gears to block the bill with a cascade of words.


In his protest speech, which started just after 2:40 p.m. ET and extended through the night, Cruz criticized Obamacare but also read the text of the Dr. Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham."


Cruz's name has quickly become the subject of Seuss-like puns to explain an almost inexplicable crisis leading up to a possible government shutdown that until yesterday seemed to be on autopilot.


Yet even before Cruz began his marathon speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky moved to take Republicans off "Cruz control."


McConnell and his top lieutenants distanced themselves from Cruz and other tea party renegades on Tuesday. The Kentucky senator—up for reelection next year—announced that they would vote to move ahead with the debate and a final vote on the amended measure by Sunday.


"I just don't happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare," McConnell said in a floor speech. "All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that."


Sen. John Cornyn, the senior Republican senator from Texas and Number 2 in the GOP leadership ranks, also announced he was not supporting Cruz.


"I think the focus needs to be on why is it that we can't get red state Democrats who can read the newspaper, watch television, read the Internet traffic just like we can, which shows that Obamacare has been a dismal failure," Cornyn told reporters.


Meanwhile, Reid urged Senate Republicans to work with him on an alternative funding measure that would keep the government operating through Nov. 15 , while appropriators rushed to approve the bulk of a new budget for the upcoming fiscal 2014. The House-passed resolution would extend government spending through Dec. 15 on a $986 billion annualized basis.


"Let me be clear," Reid told reporters. "The Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare."


Meanwhile, House Republican leaders are considering attaching a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to the Senate bill when it comes back to the House, according to Politico. Such a last-minute maneuver would almost assure a government shutdown because Senate Democrats would either reject the change or lack time to respond before the deadline Monday.


House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, had to reschedule a weekend retreat with GOP donors, in case the House needs to be in session to respond to the spending bill returned by the Senate, according to The Washington Examiner. The House speaker had been slated to meet with contributors on Saturday and Sunday at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA.


With just seven days before the new fiscal year begins -- when funding is needed to keep federal departments and agencies running -- Cruz has seen his support dwindle in the Senate.


One Senate Republican dismissed Cruz's tactics as the "dumbest idea," while another warned that Cruz was leading the GOP into a "box canyon."


What's more, many House Republicans are still furious that Cruz signaled he didn't have the votes to uphold the House-passed measure even before the fight in the Senate was fully joined.


Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., called Cruz a "fraud" who will "no longer have any influence in the Republican Party," according to CNN.


But the brash 42-year old Texan, a Harvard and Princeton graduate who is considering a bid for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has shrugged off his critics. He dismissed them as professional politicians more concerned about retaining power than responding to the demands of voters to block the Affordable Care Act at all cost.


"People wonder why this Congress has such a low approval rating," Cruz said during his lengthy floor speech. "I'm going to suggest it's because this Congress is not listening to the American people."


Cruz was flanked at times by Sens. David Vitter, R-La., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., who recommended Cruz wear comfortable shoes and not eat food on national television, according to Politico.

More from The Fiscal Times

Sep 25, 2013 12:10PM
Ted Cruz is the newest voice from the closet trying recapture the "glory" of the days of Joe McCarthy. I'm a multi generation Texan who wonders ,where did all these sissies and inbred hillbillys who vote in the Bush/Perry/Cruz types come from? Surely there are some men still in Texas. Maybe not.
Sep 25, 2013 11:34AM

ACA has to go away!! It will ruin us personally and financially.

It will do the same for the government.

You can't find more than 25% that can say it will be better.

It is a PIG and will kill us all slowly.


Sep 25, 2013 11:32AM

"Cruz criticized Obamacare but also read the text of the Dr. Seuss book 'Green Eggs and Ham.'"


To hear or see Sen. Ted Cruz is to be put in mind of no one so much as Sen. Joseph McCarthy. I think this latter-day loser also has his own gravedigging shovel in hand.


Keep digging, Ted. As a featured attraction in the political carnival sideshow, you're just the best.

Sep 25, 2013 11:42AM
For all those who oppose Obamacare, there is only a small group of politicians who are actually making a serious effort to delay or repeal it.  You might not like them or their politics or their methods or strategy, but look around, they are the only ones who are doing something about it.  Meanwhile, the majority of the Repubs (you know, the progressive establishment types who have been there forever) got re-elected by promising to do something about Obamacare.  And as usual, when the real fight begins, they are nowhere to be seen, and if they do pop their heads up, it's to side with Democrats.  Way to go, Repubs, you re-elected a bunch of wishy-washy RINO hypocrites for the umpteenth time.

So when that long gov appendage known as Obamacare begins to penetrate your rectum enough to cause some pain, don't forget to save some of the blame for the Repubs you voted for, who didn't stand up and fight.

Sep 25, 2013 2:37PM
There're gonna be a lot of Kochsuckers and Boenner's weekend retreat for GOP donors this weekend in a effort to destroy the U.S. government and ensure the remaining wealth of the country goes only to the 1%er's.
Sep 25, 2013 12:27PM
More showboating only. There are only two issues today... financial tyranny and job blockading. It's fully likely that both issues are managed by the same people. We only have a government to help us around issues like this. The Affordable Care Act has 2,900 pages that were unread by members of Congress when they voted on it. As far as I'm concerned, it could be the greatest thing since we became a nation but... it doesn't destroy financial tyranny or break down the jobs blockade. There's every chance that we will shutdown in October... let the first thing to go be- security personnel for elected Officials and their transportation. Let them walk among like the fungus they have become. FIX the financial sector problem boobs-- destroy Gramm Leach Bliley, audit the Fed, derivatives and hang every lobbyist-- even if you're married to them or they are former elected Officials. Arrest every CEO and Board member... see what "talents" go missing. End the jobs blockade and hire people back at family sustaining wages. There is no such thing as entitled wealth, especially in America. Eliminate it for the terrorism it breeds. Run Koches run... not for Office... buy hand baskets you'll need them. 
Sep 28, 2013 11:25AM

Support what the majority of the American people want is what Ted Cruz did.  He stood with the vast majority of America to defend liberty and try to prevent the bankruptcy of the USA.


The real problem is the ARROGANCE of the imbecile '57 states' and the democrats in OPPOSING the MAJORITY of America.  We demand that Obamacare be repealed.  His continued Arrogance at opposition to the WILL of the American People is a astounding.   Even solidly democratic bases like Unions now oppose his new entitlement plan.


Republicans need to stand for the VAST Majority of America in opposing this law.   Shut down the government.  LEAVE IT SHUTDOWN for as long as it takes.  If that means YEARS or DECADES.


Better to get this democrat train wreck stopped now, rather than let it bankrupt the country and send us into a decades long DEPRESSION.


Republicans cannot lose a battle when the VAST MAJORITY hate Obamacare.




of course ObamaCare is not going away it's a tax on the American people and the executives at the Health Insurance by law can and will keep 20 to 40 percent of the tax money for themselves. This is a redistribution of wealth from the poor working class to the super rich upper class.


Let's see about $3,000 a year for house insurance , $15,000 a year for family health insurance , $2,000 for family car insurance and $1,000 for life insurance.


Yep the insurance companies want $21,000 from every family yet half the families in America are making less than $24,000 a year.


Yep time for things to change folks. The super rich have gotten too super greedy.



Sep 25, 2013 11:52AM
cruz is just a deflection. same as syria being a defletion for bernanke to keep printing.
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