WASHINGTON — Tea party conservative Sen. Ted Cruz delivered an old-style filibuster over President Barack Obama’s health care law into early this morning, even though fellow Republicans urged him to back down for fear of a possible government shutdown in a week.
Cruz vowed to speak until he’s “no longer able to stand,” and filled the time in a largely empty chamber, criticizing the law and comparing the fight to the battle against the Nazis. He talked about the Revolutionary War, the Washington ruling class, his Cuban-born father who worked as a cook and even recited Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.”
“I rise today in opposition to Obamacare,” Cruz said at 2:41 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, and he cast the 3-year-old law as a job killer and a “liberal train wreck.” As midnight passed, Cruz was showing no signs of letting up in a largely futile effort, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has the votes to prevail.
Egged on by conservative groups, the potential 2016 presidential candidate excoriated Republicans and Democrats in his criticism of Obama’s signature domestic achievement and Congress’ unwillingness to gut the law. Cruz supports the House-passed bill that would avert a government shutdown and defund Obamacare, as do many Republicans.
However, they lack the votes to stop Reid from moving ahead on the measure, stripping the health care provision and sending the spending bill back to the House.
That didn’t stop Cruz’s quixotic filibuster. During his talkathon, eight Republicans joined Cruz on the Senate floor, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, both of whom have been mentioned as possible presidential candidates.