GAME ON: Cruz Sets Confrontational Tone as Senate Debate BeginsPosted: September 23, 2013
The Senate plunged into debate over legislation to fund the government while cutting of money for the new health-care law, with both sides accusing the other of threatening to bring about a government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) opened debate by denouncing the bill passed by the House Friday that embodies conservatives’ campaign to “defund Obamacare,” as the health law is known.
“Inside the House Republican bubble, the crowd cheered a plan to deny health insurance to tens of millions of Americans or else shut down the government,’’ Mr. Reid said at the outset of a debate that is expected to stretch into next weekend before any significant votes are taken. ‘President Obama has been clear. I have been clear. Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead on arrival in the Senate.’’
Legislation to fund the government, at least on a short term basis, needs to pass by Oct. 1 when the new fiscal year begins.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) the leading proponent of the bill, set a confrontational tone by quickly proposing two motions he knew would be rejected — one to pass the House bill by voice vote, and another to block any amendments that do not command a super-majority of 60 votes.
Both were blocked by Mr. Reid, and Mr. Cruz said that showed he “is willing to risk a government shutdown.. in order to insist that Obamacare is funded.’’
Mr. Cruz was in danger of being seen as a pot calling the kettle black when he said, “There is a tendency in this town toward brinksmanship, towards pointing to events that can cause instability and uncertainty and using them to try to get your way.
That’s just what Mr. Reid thinks Republicans are doing in supporting the House bill, which he denounced as a “foolhardy plan to drive the economy off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.”
Mr. Reid is expected, late in debate on the bill, to offer an amendment to restore funding for the health care law — through a maneuver that allows him to change the bill with only 51 votes, and therefore requires no Republican support.
Mr. Cruz and his allies are expected to make a preemptive strike against that move, but it will require 40 votes and it is not clear how many Republicans will join in the effort if it risks killing the bill to keep the government open.
“It’s going to be white knuckle time,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D., Fla.).
- Reid, Cruz battle as long week begins in Senate (politico.com)
- “Cruz Control” (elephantnewsgop.com)
- Reid goes ballistic on tea-party ‘anarchists’ (wnd.com)
- Cruz urges GOP unity to gut Obamacare as shutdown nears (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Senate Republicans must ‘stand our ground’ on ObamaCare, Cruz says (thehill.com)
- Three Steps On The Road To A Shutdown (swampland.time.com)