“I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.” Those were the dramatic words of Republican Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, as he took to the senate floor on Tuesday in an attempt to delay a vote meant to amend a provision of the Republican-controlled House-passed government funding bill that would defund Obamacare.
Cruz’s intention was to speak until he could convince senators they needed to debate the funding bill, which senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other democrats plan on amending to include funding for the Affordable Care Act. But seeking to prevent a government shutdown, many Republicans have already said they’re ready to vote in support of cutting off debate.
“We’d all be hard-pressed to explain why we were opposed to a bill we were in favor of,” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, according to the LA Times. “It strikes me as a no-brainer.”
Cruz’s theatrics stop short of being a filibuster, however, because “filibusters are to stop people from voting,” Reid said, and the first of two procedural votes will be held tomorrow. “No one can stop that.”
Cruz says that voting to cut off debate means the bill will be passed “without even knowing what’s in it.” But McConnell and other Republicans fear that preventing the bill from being passed will tarnish the republican image.
“There is no end result other than shutting the government down, for which Republicans are going to be blamed,” Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch told Time. “We’re in the minority. We have to find a way of standing up for our principles without immolating ourselves in front of everybody.”
The possibility of a Republican-caused government shutdown vaguely resemble similar events that actually led to a shutdown during former president Bill Clinton’s first term, which many accredit to his successful re-election. Reminiscent of this, Hilary Clinton said on Tuesday, according to CBS, that a government shutdown “wouldn’t the worst thing for Democrats … We’ve seen that movie before.”