**LIVE UPDATES** Cruz to Speak Against ObamaCare 'Until I Am No Longer Able to Stand'

On Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took to the Senate floor to begin a "talking filibuster" against the funding of Obamacare. 

"I rise today in opposition to Obamacare," Cruz said. "I intend to speak in opposition to Obamacare. I intend to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand."

Cruz said he will "do everything I can to help" Americans stand together against a Washington and "politicians in this body that are not listening to the people."

Cruz said it was an honor to stand side-by-side with his colleague Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the architect of the defunding strategy, and said it was time to recognize that this "grand experiment" of Obamacare is not working. Cruz said it was time to "make D.C. listen" and said it was a point that he would make "over and over again."

On Monday, Cruz demanded a 60-vote threshold for any amendments to the House bill that funds the government except for Obamacare. He said politicians who vote for cloture would be voting to fund Obamacare.

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Update: Here are two objective, not-at-all-liberal CNN anchors openly mocking Ted Cruz. The video starts after CNN decided to play the full clip of Cruz reading "Green Eggs and Ham."

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Update: Politico's Dylan Byers states the simple facts about the media's bias as it pertains to Wendy Davis and Ted Cruz:

Yes, the difference between filibustering and grandstanding plays a part. Equally important is the fact that Cruz's theatrics are frustrating members of his own party. But, part of the disparity in coverage is due to the fact that the mainstream media, generally speaking, don't admire Cruz the way they admired Davis — or rather, they admire him only insofar as he makes for tragicomic theater, whereas they admired her on the merits.

Update: The Senate just voted 100-0 to proceed to House GOP bill to fund government and defund Obamacare. Strictly procedural.

Update: Here is a full transcript of Ted Cruz's 22-hour speech. 

Update: BuzzFeed  blows up Cruz's WWII example. Anyone see a Narrative being cobbled together between Democrats, the Establishment, and the media?

Update: Schumer attacks Cruz for WWII analogy. 

Update: NBC's Luke Russert reports on Cruz's BWM.

Update: Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rips Cruz for not accomplishing anything and accusing him of wanting to shut the government down.

Update: McCain took to the Senate floor to rip Ted Cruz. McCain took special umbrage at Cruz comparing ObamaCare fight to World War II.

Update: Cruz is not headed to bed; he will appear on Rush Limbaugh's radio show this afternoon.

Update: C-Span clocks the Cruz defund ObamaCare speech at 21 hours, 19 minutes.

Update: After more than 21 hours and to applause from the floor, Cruz ends his stand against ObamaCare and sits down. 

Update: With 90-seconds remaining, Cruz reminds the American people that "this debate is in your hands." He then calls on the 46 Republicans to vote against cloture, which he describes as a vote to fund ObamaCare.

Update: Cruz closes his 20-plus hour speech with a summation against ObamaCare. 

Update: Reid tells Cruz he can speak until 1pm. Cruz tells Reid that the agreement was noon and he intends to stick to the agreement.

Bizarre exchange.

Update: Harry Reid requests time for a colloquy, but Reid starts to make a speech. Cruz cuts him off, reminding Reid he (Cruz) has not yielded the floor. With only 24-minutes of his time remaining, Cruz stops Reid.

Reid then asks Cruz if he will yield the floor for 15-minutes to John McCain (?) between noon and 1pm.

Cruz responds by reminding Reid that he will not be allowed to speak past noon.

Update: Cruz graciously thanks Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) for leading the charge to defund ObamaCare.

Update: With only 30 minutes left until his noon deadline, Cruz thanks Republican and Democrat members of the Senate floor staff -- as well as the Senators from both Parties who discussed and debated with him through the night.

Update: Cruz asks Harry Reid if he can speak past noon. Reid refuses. 

Update: Durbin and Cruz had a fascinating debate about what to do about the uninsured. Durbin was okay with putting people in "coach class" as long as they are getting a ride. Cruz suggested Durbin join those people -- that he leave "first class" and jump in "coach class" by ending the ObamaCare exemption Congress currently enjoys.

Cruz wants free market reforms that will not kill people's access to top-shelf health care. Durbin is okay with everyone in coach class, except, of course, for Congress.

This was a classic debate that shows how Democrats want everyone "equally" poor while our ruling class sips champagne and watches movies behind the curtain.

Update: Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is now speaking to challenge some of Rubio's claims about effect ObamaCare is having on the working poor."If someone has fewer choices of doctors but has health insurance, isn't that better than having no health insurance?"

Ted Cruz agrees that there should be reforms to address the uninsured but free market reforms, such as allowing companies to sell insurance over state lines.

Update: Cruz is asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to come out on the floor to listen to a "unanimous consent" request.

Update: At the top of the hour, CNN refused to air any portion of Cruz's speech that was about ideas. In a 90-second montage, CNN aired only his lighter pop culture comments. Dana Bash described the comments as "fun" and "weird."

Update: Rubio is fired up. After reading letters from everyday victims of ObamaCare, he reads nightmare ObamaCare statistics and facts written in a "conservative, right-wing newspaper" called the New York Times.

Update: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has joined Cruz to talk about those who have lost their employer-based health insurance due to ObamaCare.

Update: By hitting the twenty-hour mark, Cruz has given the fourth longest speech in the history of the Senate.

Update: At 10:41am ET, Cruz concluded hour twenty of his stand against ObamaCare.

Update: Cruz says his "end game" is the "American people."

Cruz just made the point that a media that intentionally plays dumb will not. Cruz knows he cannot stop ObamaCare ... this week. But that was never his end game. His end game is to eventually win by keeping the debate going and to make sure ObamaCare is never considered a settled piece of law.

This is how the left wins; they never quit, never give up, never accept.

This is also why the left/media hate Cruz: they know he is using their tactics, and doing so effectively. They know he is playing the long game. They also see him as a traitor: regardless of party, a Harvard/Princeton man is supposed to play along and suck up to power, not fight power.

Update: According to C-Span, ten Senators have joined Crux throughout his speech, including two Democrats.

Update: Senator David Vitter (R-LA) joins Cruz with comments/question.

Update: Slate's Dave Weigel attempts to claim media treating Democrat Wendy Davis like a hero and Ted Cruz like Uncle Crazy has nothing to do with ideology:

Update: During Morning Joe, NBC's Chuck Todd mocked Cruz for a Hitler reference after the Senator talked about England looking like a lost cause in the face of the German air war. Todd quoted Godwin's Law about how a Hitler reference means you have lost the debate. 

In the segment that followed, Chris Matthews made a Hitler reference.

Update: At 9:41am ET, Cruz concluded hour 19 of his speech. Only now has he loosened his tie. Other than that, his voice, suit, hair, posture and energy level is as strong as it was yesterday afternoon. 

Update: Via @Hale_Razor, here is how the objective, unbiased, not-at-all-liberal Washington Post covered Republican Ted Cruz as compared to Democrat Wendy Davis:

Sen. Cruz extends attack on Obamacare into Wednesday morning

Texas state senator Wendy Davis filibusters her way to Democratic stardom

Update: CNN's Carol Costello and  Dana Bash are giggling like mean sorority girls over the empty Senate chamber.

Update: Citing Ayn Rand, Cruz rip the media for focusing on personalities instead of ideas.

In other news...

CNN's Dana Bash is now mocking Cruz for talking about Star Wars and Ashton Kutcher.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd is focusing on Cruz's Star Wars comments and White Castle references.

Update: ABC News' Political Director Rick Klein pretends he doesn't understand the point about putting President Obama on the ObamaCare exchanges his health care act has forced so many on to.

This is Klein hoping to appeal to and convince low-information voters that Paul and Cruz are spouting nonsense. Klein knows the point is a good one and rather than share it, he acts obtuse in order to dismiss it. 

Update: Sen. Paul suggests President Obama go on the ObamaCare exchange, and that at today's briefing some reporter ask if Obama is willing to go on the exchange. "Mr. President, if it such a good idea, why don't you get it?"

Paul is referencing the hundreds of thousands of workers who have lost their health insurance after the costs of ObamaCare forced employers to choose the fines of not insuring over the cost of Obama's mandated health plans. As a result, Walgreens alone dumped 180,000 into the exchanges.

Update: At 8:41am ET, Cruz officially hit the 18 hour mark.  Somehow he looks as fresh as he did at 2:41pm yesterday.

Update: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is mocking ObamaCare for being so bad the administration can't give it away for free. He is also laying out how businesses can game the system to get an advantage over the competition by dumping employees on to the exchanges or not hiring more than 49 employees.

Update: On Twitter, @Cuffymeh compares CNN's worship of Democrat Wendy Davis to the objective, not-at-all-liberal network's attack on Ted Cruz:

What's Ted Cruz's deal?

Critics question his motives, though — is this about his principles or about presidential aspirations?

CNN political analyst Gloria Borger said his Republican detractors think Cruz is putting his political career above all else.

Wendy Davis: From teen mom to Harvard Law to famous filibuster

The Texas state senator whose filibuster of an abortion bill became a national phenomenon has a long history of persisting against tough odds.

Update: Morning Joe and his panel hurled contempt at Ted Cruz all morning; this included Joe, Mika, Chuck Todd, the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis, David Gregory, Cokie Roberts, and Chris Matthews.

Update: Cruz has been speaking for 17 hours and looks as fresh as he did when this started.

Update: CNN accuses Cruz's "theatrics" of inviting a government shutdown and then calls the filibuster fake because Cruz negotiated a stop time with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Obviously, CNN is not concerned with contradicting itself in order to tear down Cruz.

Update: Cruz Is Reading from Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. He Urges Americans to Buy the Book.

Update: Lee, Cruz Hammer Home Point 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' Misnomer 

In a brilliant discourse, Lee and Cruz made the point that the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" is a misnomer and obliterated the back and forth about whether Obamcare was a tax or a penalty.

Lee eventually made the point that just like the Hundred Years' War did not last 100 years, just like the Chinese gooseberry is from New Zealand, the airplane black box is orange, Panama hats come from Ecuador, camel hair is actually squirrel fur, the purple finch is crimson,and the canary islands are named after a dog, years war did not last 100 years, the "Affordable Care Act" make healthcare less affordable rather than more. Lee had asked Cruz a serious of questions about what color a black box was and where Panama hats come from. Many were impressed with the discourse: 

UPDATE: Cruz said there is not a senator who could have given the constitutional lecture Lee did. Cruz also revealed that he did not know there were different shades of white until his wife asked him what shade of white a tile was while they were redecorating their bathroom. 

UPDATE: Filibuster Hits 12-Hour Mark

Cruz's filibuster hits the 12-hour mark at 2:41 AM EDT, as Sen. Lee eloquently speaks about the ratification of the Constitution, limited government, and modern commerce clause jurisdiction. 

UPDATE: Palin Watching Filibuster from Alaska: 'We Can Hear You All the Way in Wasilla.'

UPDATE: Cruz Connects Toby Keith and Hobby Lobby, Rips Obama for Demonstrating 'Hostility' to Religious Faith

Cruz read the lyrics to Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," and he spoke extensively about Hobby Lobby and religious liberty. He said they had an awful lot to do with each other ann and talked about how the United States was founded by those who fled religious persecution from across the globe and governments that sought to impose their rules to restrict the religious liberties of men and women. Cruz then said the federal government is telling Hobby Lobby and Catholic hospitals that they must violate their religious liberties because government knows best. Cruz said the Founding Fathers knew that if Americans don't have the freedom to seek out God, then every other freedom can be stripped away and that is why the First Amendment begins with religious liberty. He then blistered the Obama administration for demonstrating a "hostility" to religious faith "that is staggering." Cruz said religious liberty is foundational to "who we are" and Obamacare is "pernicious" because of it "disregards religious liberty."

"If the government can order them to violate their religious beliefs, what's to stop them from ordering you to violate yours," Cruz said. "That's wrong. That is inconsistent with who we are as Americans. It's one of the many reasons Americans are fed up with what's happening under Obamacare."

UPDATE: Cruz Praises Duck Dynasty, Says We're All Going to Be 'Happy, Happy, Happy,' When We Defund Obamacare 

Cruz praised Duck Dynasty for being a show about a "God-fearing family of successful entrepreneurs who love guns" and "who love to hunt and believe in the American dream." Cruz said that's something that is not supposed to exist, according to Congress. 

He quoted some of the show's main characters. Cruz quoted Duck Commander Phil Robertson, who said, "in a subdivision, you call 911. At home, I am 911." He also quoted Phil's famous "Happy, Happy, Happy," line and told Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), "when we defund Obamacare, we're all going to be 'Happy, Happy, Happy.'" 

"That kind of homespun wisdom is what this country was built on. It's who we are," Cruz said. "There are some things to chuckle on but there's an awful lot of common sense." 

UPDATE: C-SPAN noted when Cruz surpassed Sen. Sanders's 2010 filibuster by an hour:

UPDATE: Fox News's Sean Hannity praises Breitbart News reporter Matthew Boyle:

Update: Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) whined about having to preside over the Senate and called Cruz's filibuster "a pointless fairy tale non-filibuster" even though, as the Washington Post's Paul Kane noted, mainstream media outlets referred to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speech in 2010 in which he did exactly what Cruz is doing as a "filibuster." 

Update: Cruz: 'Asinine' for GOP Pundits to Make 'Poppycock' Argument that Republicans Can't Do Anything Because They Control 'One-Half of One-Third of Government." 

Cruz said it is "asinine" for pundits always say that Republicans cannot do anything because they control "one half of one-third of government" and said there was a legal term for that argument: "poppycock." This is an argument often employed by House Republican leaders like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Cruz noted that the House has preeminence on spending and not a single law can pass without the House. 

Update: Sen. Cruz: 'God Bless Talk Radio' 

He spoke about the democratization of information and mentioned how talk radio goes right around the media gatekeepers and the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook help people and information bypass the traditional gatekeepers because there are no longer three large networks that monopolize the news.

Update: Sen. Mike Lee Makes Another Appearance on Senate Floor to Join Cruz

Update from Breitbart's Matthew Boyle: Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) Honored to Have Joined Cruz

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), a conservative from the state, told Breitbart News he is honored to have joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the floor to fight to defund Obamacare. Hudson joined Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Paul Broun (R-GA), a few of the House members who came to the Senate floor to support Cruz, on the other side of Capitol Hill. "Last week, the House stood up for the American people by passing legislation to defund Obamacare, control spending and prevent a government shutdown," Hudson said in an email. "As the fight continues in the Senate, I stand with Senator Ted Cruz and our like-minded colleagues to protect our constituents from this disastrous and intrusive health care takeover."

Update: As Promised, Cruz Reads #MakeDCListen Tweets on the Senate Floor

Update: #MakeDCListen Still Top Trending Topic on Twitter

Update: Cruz: Americans Expect All 100 Senators on Floor Debating Obamacare

Cruz wondered what could be more important than debating the funding of Obamacare that so few senators would be on the floor debating Obamacare. Cruz said, unfortunately, senators are not listening to Americans concerned about Obamacare, and some would rather be at fundraising dinners.

Update: Picture of Cruz's Daughters Watching Their Father on Television

Update: Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) supports Cruz on Twitter

Update: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) Claims Cruz is 'Just Plain Wrong' to Suggest Congress Received Special Treatment on Obamacare

After Durbin bragged about how the healthcare exchanges would help one of his constituents, Cruz then asked Durbin if he would be willing eliminate the subsidies that congressional staffers are set to receive so Congress plays by the same rules as Durbin's constituents. 

Cruz said he would like to note that it speaks volumes that Congress has been exempted from the Obamacare system Durbin so passionately described. 

"I'm curious if the senator from Illinois is such a fan of the exchanges ... would the senator from Illinois then support Senator Vitter's amendment?" Cruz asked. "If we're going to make rules for the American people, [we should be subject] to the same rules."

Durbin said Cruz was "just plain wrong" to say that Congress received special treatments and exemptions from Obamacare even though the text of Obamacare does not explicitly allow the federal government to subsidize lawmakers in Congress and their staffs for their insurance plans they must buy on the exchanges.

Update: Pobrecitas: Anonymous Sources in GOP Establishment Whining About Cruz

Going to the left-leaning Buzzfeed, anonymous GOP establishment sources, "most of whom declined to disparage a rising star on the record," said "the party’s donor class is rolling its eyes at Cruz’s" speech on the Senate floor. Pobrecitas (poor things). They said Cruz's refusal to be co-opted by the ruling class will discourage the big-money donors, the same types of people who are financing the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform efforts, from financially backing Cruz. As Cruz has repeatedly said, though, there is a paradigm shift that is going on that is empowering the grassroots, to whom Cruz has said he is accountable instead of these big-money establishment donors. Cruz, almost more than any other politician, is a symbol of that paradigm shift.  

UPDATE: Sen. Mike Lee's (R-UT) Communications Director Notices There May Be a Reason Why Members of the Washington Establishment and Their Minions Have Stopped Chirping on Twitter Against Cruz, a Politician They Loathe for Not Kowtowing to Them:

UPDATE: Sens. Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) join Cruz on the Senate floor

UPDATE: Cruz Reads Two Bedtime Stories to His Daughters, Caroline and Katherine from Senate Floor

Cruz reads a bedtime story from the Bible and Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters. Earlier, Cruz spoke about how he always believed his father "invented" green eggs and ham by using green food coloring or spinach in the eggs that he made Cruz when Cruz was a child. Cruz said Green Eggs and Ham is relevant to the Obamacare campaign because Obama and Democrats said "just try" Obamacare over three years ago. Except Cruz said Americans tried Obamacare and did not like it.  

Update: Cruz: You Could Not Design a Law That Can Do More Damage to Young People than Obamacare if You Sat Down And Tried

Cruz said Obamacare is a wealth transfer program from healthy young people to others who are not as healthy. He said lawmakers looked at young people and "licked their chops" and emphasized that one could not design a law that would hurt young people as much as Obamacare if lawmakers deliberately tried.

Update: Cruz Speaks Fluently About Football

In discussing all of the establishments and universities that are cutting hours because of Obamacare, Cruz read that the University of Alabama is capping work hours for students at 20. He kidded that that "may be justifiable punishment for their having beaten Texas A&M," but "it is still not good for students who would like to work more than 20 hours a week." Earlier, Cruz said he hated the Pittsburgh Steelers because the "Steel Curtain" teams would pound his Houston Oilers, led by Earl Campbell, while Cruz was a child in Texas during the 1970s. 

Update: Paul Tweets His Appearance on Senate Floor

UPDATE: #MakeDCListen

Cruz said he would read "#MakeDCListen" tweets on the Senate floor later in the evening and encouraged Americans to use the hashtag that has been the top-trending topic on Twitter. 

UPDATE: SARAH PALIN TO CRUZ: 'Stay Strong'

After an appearance on Fox News' Cavuto in which she had Cruz's back and her exclusive op-ed for Breitbart News over the weekend gave Cruz air cover and lit up the political world, the politician whom Cruz said he would not be in the Senate without weighed in on Twitter and supported Cruz, saying that "fortifying caribou jerky" was on its way to Texas as well:

At this year's CPAC, Cruz said he would not be in the Senate were it not for Palin, who endorsed Cruz during the 2012 Texas Senate primary at a time when Cruz was not assured to make the runoff against moderate Republican Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Former South Carolina Senator and current Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, whose mantle Cruz is taking up in the Senate, said nobody has more influence in a Republican primary than Palin. Cruz's campaign prominently featured Palin on its website and in radio and television ads, and Cruz eventually made the runoff against Dewhurst and eventually won the nomination and the Senate seat. The Senate's landscape would be a lot different had Dewhurst been elected to the Senate from Texas, which is what many in the Republican establishment wanted. 

Cruz, unlike many who have come to Washington to change it only to be changed by it, has not proverbially seen the Washington, D.C. cesspool as a jacuzzi and has danced with the one that brung him. He repeatedly emphasizes that he is accountable to the grassroots and not the mainstream media and Republican establishment, which has surprised political reporters who are accustomed to conservatives being co-opted by Washington's establishment.

UPDATE from Breitbart News' Matt Boyle: Enzi Still Deciding Whether to Stand with Cruz

A spokesman for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) told Breitbart News that Enzi will likely take a stand one way or the other on whether he supports the strategy from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sometime tonight on the Senate floor or sometime tomorrow morning. Nonetheless, Enzi's spokesman argued that the senator is ardently opposed to Obamacare. "I can tell you Senator Enzi voted against Obamacare in committee and on the Senate floor," Enzi's spokesman said in an email. "Since the majority passed it, Senator Enzi has voted to dismantle it, has supported legislation to repeal it and has signed a letter to Senator Reid with Senators Lee, Paul, Cruz and others that says Senator Enzi will not support a continuing resolution that funds further implementation or enforcement of Obamacare."

UPDATE: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) echoes many points from his standard speech about how Obamacare makes it tougher for people to live the American dream like Rubio's and Cruz's parents were able to do. 

Cruz said that Rubio inspired him and was a "critical national leader" and was there from day one with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) on defunding Obamacare. Cruz also noted that "official Washington" did not think Rubio could get elected to the Senate when he was running against then-Republican Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Rubio won after running on Tea Party principles but has seen his poll numbers among conservatives and Republicans plummet after his enthusiastic support of the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill as a member of the chamber's "Gang of Eight" that wrote it 

UPDATE: #MakeDCListen Blowing Up Twitter. 

"#StandwithCruz" and "KeepCruzing" and other hashtags associated with Cruz's speech have been trending throughout the day:

UPDATE: Cruz Points Out 'No Consequences' for Those Who Said House Would Never Pass Bill to Defund Obamacare

Cruz said there are no consequences for people in their "deep baritone voices" who said the House would never pass a bill to defund Obamacare. He noted that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was not initially on board with the initial group that was in favor of the defunding strategy and has now expressed his support.

UPDATE from Breitbart News' Matt Boyle on Sens. Sessions, Inhofe, Roberts, Johnson

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Breitbart News on Tuesday shortly after 5 p.m. that he sympathizes with Cruz’s effort but would not specifically agree either way whether he would support Cruz’s strategy. “"I agree with the tens of millions of Americans who believe Obamacare should be stopped. The law is raising their cost of healthcare coverage and forcing businesses to cut back on jobs and to reduce benefits. But Senator Reid and President Obama will keep pushing Obamacare even as its implementation is an obvious train wreck.  Unfortunately, Democrats control the U.S. Senate, and I highly doubt they will pass a government funding measure that defunds Obamacare.”
 
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) also just promised on Senate floor that he will support Cruz's strategy. "I intend to support you," Sessions said. "I don't intend to vote to" move forward on any bill that leaves the door open to fund Obamacare. "I thank you for you leadership," Sessions told Cruz.
 
Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) said they will support Cruz's strategy too, according to the Senate Conservatives Fund.

UPDATE: Cruz: 'Filling the Tree' Example of Politicians Using Positions of Power to Enforce Washington's Ideological Views

Cruz said the tactic used by the Majority Leader to not allow any other amendments on a bill was a "tool of power" used to silence the people and ensure what the permanent political class wants is imposed on the rest of America.

UPDATE: Matt Drudge Praises Cruz and Paul

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions Says Obamacare Will Make DC More of a Boomtown

Sessions said Obamacare would create more jobs for bureaucrats and lobbyists in DC at a time when the rest of the nation is struggling economically. Cruz said the "boom business in our economy is government" and that was unfortunate because smart people see gaming the government as a way to enrich themselves. Cruz said the divide between the bipartisan ruling class and the rest of America was the greatest source of the country's problems and disillusionment. 

UPDATE: Sen. Jeff Sessions Joins Cruz on the Senate Floor 

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a staunch opponent of the Senate's amnesty bill, earned the respect of many conservatives with his war-horse like work in opposing comprehensive immigration reform. 

He asked Cruz if Obamacare leads to a single-payer system, who would be the payer?

Cruz said that government would be the payer, which means the taxpayers. Cruz noted that once government pays for healthcare it can control it. He had said that the vote for cloture on the bill before the Senate will be the most important vote he will have taken in his nine months in the Senate because it is a question of whether senators will be responding to the "suffering" that Obamacare has wrought across America. Cruz said senators have the "for me but not for thee" mentality on Obamacare, and Cruz said senators would oppose Obamacare more fiercely if their healthcare or that of their children were on the line like it is for many of America's most vulnerable. Sessions said he intends to support Cruz's effort. 

UPDATE: Cruz Tells Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) that Obamacare Will Lead to Socialized Medicine 

After Roberts asked whether Obamacare would lead to socialized medicine, Cruz said Obamacare's intended purpose was to "unavoidably" lead the country down the path of socialized healthcare. He said Obamacare would fail but would destroy the private sector when it does, allowing for a single-payer system to be ushered in, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said was Obamacare's goal. 

UPDATE: Paul Asks Cruz Questions on the Floor

Paul criticizes Obama for not willing to negotiate with Republicans and for his "my way or the highway" approach. He asked Cruz if he wants to shut down the government and what his intentions were. 

Cruz said he is not in his argument boots and instead is wearing black tennis shoes like the ones Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) wears to make himself more comfortable. He said he was in "debt to Rand Paul" for allowing him to speak on the Senate floor in support of Paul's "tremendous filibuster that mobilized the American people," which was the first time Cruz spoke on the Senate floor. 

Cruz talks about how surprised reporters were that Cruz would want to defund Obamacare even though some of those reporters were on the campaign trail with him when he promised to do so if he got to Washington. He reiterated that he did not wan to shut down the government 

UPDATE: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Heading to Floor to Ask Cruz Questions:

UPDATE: Cruz Reads Letters from American People Opposed to Obamacare 

Cruz read a letter from an employees of a small business in Texas asking for Obamacare to be defunded. He read another from a commercial real estate broker from Chesapeake, Virginia who was already feeling the disastrous impact of Obamacare in a low-income community. The real estate agent wrote to Cruz that many in the low-income community have seen their hours cut to 29 hours a week because of Obamacare and, as a result, they will be forced into government housing because they are unable to pay their rent and his client will get less income. Cruz said "these cries are coming from all across the country," but Washington is not listening.

UPDATE: Cruz Discusses Obamacare's Impact on Cleveland Clinic

Cruz mentioned that the Cleveland Clinic is the second largest employer in Ohio after Walmart and is responsible for 80% of economic output in Northeast Ohio. Because of Obamacare, though, the Cleveland Clinic will be forced to lay off thousands of workers. Cruz said if lawmakers really cared about Ohio other than every four years during a presidential election year the Senate chamber should be filled with senators addressing Obamacare's impact on the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio's economy. He noted the Cleveland Clinic also provides healthcare to some of most disadvantaged people as well.  

UPDATE: Cruz's Story About His Father Getting His First Job Washing Dishes for 50 Cents an Hour and Assimilating Resonates:

Cruz said Obamacare threatens the type of jobs that young people at the lower end of the economic ladder need to move up to better jobs and the economic ladder like his father did. 

UPDATE from Breitbart News Reporter Matthew Boyle: Chambliss Opposes Cruz

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) came out against Sen. Cruz's strategy on Tuesday, saying he will vote for cloture.

“He plans to vote for cloture on the House Republican’s continuing resolution, which he supports,” Chambliss’ spokeswoman wrote in an email to Breitbart News.

UPDATE: Cruz: Obamacare Shows There Are 'Two Americas'

Cruz uses John Edwards's "two Americas" formulation to describe the country under Obamacare.

"I didn't agree with a lot of thingns John Edwards said as a political candidate," Cruz said, noting, though, that he agreed with the "tragic" notion that there are "two Americas." During the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, Edwards, the candidate George W. Bush's reelection team arguably feared the most on the top of the ticket, used his "two Americas" speech to rocket up the Democratic field in the waning months of the campaign, eventually securing a spot on the ticket with nominee John Kerry. 

Cruz said there are two Americas between the ruling class in Washington and everyone else. Cruz said there is an America for those of wealth and privilege and power and everybody else. Cruz had been saying, without using the explicit Two Americas formulation, that the Obamacare debate has reflected the two Americas divide, where the well-connected groups and businesses have gotten carve-outs and exemptions while the "little people" get stuck with an Obamacare law that is not even good enough for the members of Congress that passed it. 

"If you're lucky enough to be a college graduate, the unemployment rate is 3.5%, pretty good," Cruz said, noting that the people who are getting "hammered" under Obamacare are the young, single mothers, and minorities who do not have "wealth and privilege" and trying to move up the economic ladder. 

UPDATE: Cruz: A lot of people with vested interest in preserving status quo

Cruz said once more Obamacare exemptions are doled out, Americans would be left with a system where Obamacare is a rule for "the little people," invoking Leona Helmsley, who said only "little people" pay taxes. 

UPDATE: Cruz: If Only Senators Were to Behave as if Their Constituents Were at Least as Important as Their Congressional Staffers and They Are

Cruz took a question from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and said that Vitter's amendment to not allow federal subsidies for those in Congress who purchase health insurance on the exchanges should be voted on and Vitter's amendment should be expanded to all federal employees. Cruz said if those in Congress say Obamacare is so great, then "they should live under it." Cruz said if Obamacare is so great, members of Congress, staff members, and federal employees should "eagerly embrace it." He said "there is not a ruling class in Washington that somehow gets treated differently." Cruz said behind closed doors, "this issue generates a lot of passion." He said there are a great many congressional staffers who are great public servants and the Vitter amendment "deeply concerns" them. Cruz said it speaks volumes that some congressional staffers are willing to resign should the Vitter amendment pass because healthcare will be more expensive and not as good. Instead of vilifying Vitter, Cruz said the panic some staffers feel should be directed at working class Americans who are struggling to make ends meet who are very likely to lose their health insurance and put on exchanges. 

"If Obamacare were so terrific, why would the president want to delay it 'til the next election?" Cruz said, noting than exemptions for labor unions are on their way. 

UPDATE: "Sovereignty Is an Idea We Need to Get Back to"

Cruz said that town halls are not an annoyance and the Senate has not behaved in recent years as if "we the people are sovereign" and it has not acted "as if each of us have 300 million bosses." Cruz spoke at length about how the idea that rights come from God and not a sovereign is still revolutionary. He said when he asked people and business owners what their greatest concern was, they all said the impact Obamacare would have on jobs. 

UPDATE: Cruz takes a question from Lee, the architect of the defunding Obamacare strategy, who mentions that the new media environment allows more people outside of Washington, D.C. to have their voices heard on defunding Obamacare. 

UPDATE: Cruz Leads: Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus showed his support for Cruz and his effort to defund Obamacare. 

Twitter is lighting up with #MakeDCListen tweets like the one below: 

UPDATE: Cruz: Mainstream Media Covers Important Issues like Hollywood Gossip Pages to Distract Americans with 'Smoke and Mirrors' 

Cruz said it is not by accident important issues are covered like the Hollywood gossip pages in order to distract Americans with "smoke and mirrors." He blasted the "courage" of the anonymous staffers in Washington who have been knifing him in the back behind the scenes; however, he said he has "no intention of engaging in that game" even though rocks will be thrown at him. He said anyone who is trying to make the defunding Obamacare fight about personalities is trying to distract Americans from the fight. 

UPDATE: Cruz: Congress like World Wrestling Federation

Cruz is obliterating the ruling permanent political class in Washington, saying that Congress is "a little bit like the World Wresting Federation" where everyone knows the outcome in advance and the rhetoric is "all for show."

Regarding the defunding of Obamacare, Cruz said, "No more fake fights. No more hiding your votes. No more trying to fool the American people." He has insisted throughout his speech that it is time to "make D.C." listen. And he ripped Republicans who will say they voted against Obamacare knowing the predetermined outcome in advance. 

Cruz said he wanted to "stand and fight for the more than 1.6 million Americans who signed the national petition against Obamacare" and the millions more who did not sign because they were told by politicians that it was impossible to defund Obamacare.

He said these establishment politicians get annoyed at their constituents (He said he heard senators complain that they were getting "too many phone calls" from constituents) for flooding their offices with phone calls more than they are about Obamacare and are concerned only about being "invited to all the right cocktail parties in town."

"There are members in this body for whom that is really, really important," Cruz said. "At the end of the day, we don't work for those holding cocktail parties. Or the intelligentsia in the big cities writing newspaper editorials."

Cruz said he was reminded of The Little Engine That Could because a lot of members "of this body ... what they'd say to that train at the bottom of the train" is, "No you can't!"

Cruz said many in Washington think they are the "kings and queens of their own fiefdoms" and said he has "26 million bosses back home in Texas." 


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