Late Monday afternoon, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor to call for unanimous consent to begin consideration of the House-passed Continuing Resolution. The measure funds the government through December 15th, but strips appropriations for ObamaCare. He also reiterated calls that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid keep the regular order rules of the Senate and require a 60-vote threshold for all amendments.
If other Senators agree to unanimous consent, consideration of the House CR could begin as early as tomorrow. Reid has threatened to invoke cloture again before amendments are considered, allowing them to be adopted by a simple majority vote. Normally, amendments are subject to the same 60-vote threshold required for final passage of legislation.
Prior to today’s remarks, there was speculation that Cruz and other Republican Senators would try to block the Senate from even considering the House CR until there were assurances on the amendment process. Since a cloture vote would be required to make the change in amendment rules, it seems Cruz and his allies have decided to fight the unusual process move by Reid.
Democrats have 54 seats in the Senate. If a simple majority is required to restore ObamaCare funding, Reid can shield some of his more vulnerable incumbents up for reelection next year.
The fight over what is effectively a rules change would take place later this week.