WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was not able to stop his fellow Republican senators from handing the Democrats a major victory on Obamacare.
Enough Republican senators joined with Democrats on Friday to vote for “cloture,” a move that brought an end to debate on a House bill that would defund Obamacare.
It also allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to prmoptly restore funding for Obamacare to the spending bill.
The final vote was 79 to 19.
Joining the Democrats in casting “yes” votes were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
The Senate then voted to remove the provision defunding Obamcare on a 54-44 party line vote, and passed the bill.
That vote allowed 25 Republicans to claim they had voted against Obamacare, when, in fact, their earlier vote on cloture was the key vote, the one that would have preserved the defunding of Obamacare.
Cruz said earlier that would be a “show” vote.
The bill now goes back to the House.
“This is an ongoing process and we’ll see how it concludes at the end of the process,” Cruz said afterward.
Those who voted with Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, against cloture were Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Dean Heller, R-Nev., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Pat Toomey, R-Pa. and David Vitter, R-La..
Reid goes ballistic, again
Speaking on the Senate floor Friday, Reid again went ballistic on conservatives, as he did earlier in this week.
This time he claimed the Republicans have been “infected by a small group of extremists” who are more interested in shutting down the government than governing.
Reid claimed “a bad day for government is a good day for the anarchists among us.”
Sticking to his theme, Reid claimed these “modern day anarchists believe in no government” and that “tea party obstructionists don’t represent mainstream Republicans,” even though 227 House Republicans voted to pass the bill to defunding Obamacare, with just one voting against.
Reid even tried to blame to horrible economy under Obama on the tea party, claiming, “For the last few years these radicals have driven us from crisis to crisis, leaving a trail of destruction behind us.”
GOP allows Obamacare funding
The 46 Republicans in the Senate could have stopped the vote for cloture with only 41 votes, but McConnell refused to support that.
McConnell and other establishment Republicans feared they would take the blame for any government shutdown, even though the House bill was specifically designed to force Democrats to be the ones to shut down the government, should they refuse to defund Obamacare.
The House strategy, endorsed by Cruz and such like-minded lawmakers as Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., was to pass a continuing resolution, or spending bill, that funded everything except Obamacare.
A continuing resolution must be passed by Sept. 30 to keep to the government funded.
GOP lawmakers hoped, by passing a bill funding everything except the health care law, Democrats would not be able to accuse Republicans of shutting down the government over Obamacare.
The idea was put the burden on the Democrats to keep the government running and force a showdown in which GOP lawmakers could essentially tell them, “Take it or leave it.”
There is no question the Republicans have the power to defund Obamacare, because their control of the House gives them the power of the purse. The question is whether they have the will to see it through.
Battle not over
Cruz pointed out Thursday that losing the vote on cloture would not mean the drive to defund Obamacare is lost.
“If enough Senate Republicans vote to give Harry Reid the authority to fund Obamacare, that does not mean the fight is over,” he said. “A bill to fund Obamacare will still go back to the House. House Republicans can, and should, continue to stand their ground.”
Because the House has the power of the purse, it can refuse to restore funding to Obamacare indefinitely.
“If the House hold firms, Harry Reid has no ability to muscle the House of Representatives,” said Cruz.
He described the most important role that he and like-minded senators such as Lee can play: “to serve as a cheerleader supporting House Republicans to stand with the American people.”
A key Senate staff member told WND that senators who support defunding went into the venture knowing they did not have the votes, initially.
But, the aide noted, it is still early in the game, and the outcome is really up to the American people. They can stop Obamcare by calling and/or emailing their senators, signing the online petition to defund Obamcare or by speaking their minds on Twitter.
Americans oppose Obamacare
In fact, the Twitter universe has been on fire with positive reaction to Cruz ever since his marathon speech against Obamacare, in the middle of the week.
Americans can go to #StandWithCruz, already one of the top trending hashtags, to have their say and see what their fellow citizens are saying about the effort to defund Obamacare.
FreedomWorks has also posted a list of the Twitter handles of key Republican senators and suggested: “Tell them that you support Senator Ted Cruz and that you want to #MakeDCListen and protect Americans from ObamaCare. #KeepCruzing Ted, we’re behind you!”
A CBS News poll found 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the health-care law.