Monday evening, GOP Minority Leader announced that he would oppose a proposed filibuster from Sens. Cruz and Lee to block the House Continuing Resolution from reaching the Senate floor. McConnell’s opposition was echoed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), number 2 in GOP Leadership, and Sen. Cruz’s colleague from Texas. The move by McConnell and Cornyn virtually assures that the Senate will begin consideration of the House bill later this week.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) needs the support of 6 Republican Senators to defeat any filibuster undertaken by Sens. Cruz and Lee, assuming he has the votes of his entire caucus. The decision by McConnell and Cornyn to vote against a filibuster ensures that Reid will have the Republican votes he needs to move forward with the bill.
The expectation is then that, after a period of debate on the CR, Sen. Reid will file another cloture motion to cut off debate and proceed to amendments. By holding a cloture vote before amendments are considered, Reid will be able to add amendments to the bill by a simply majority vote. He will likely block any Republican amendments and off language to restore ObamaCare funding. The final resolution could then pass the Senate by a simply majority.
It is unclear if McConnell or Cornyn would support a filibuster against Reid’s controversial procedure to handle amendments. Under the Senate’s regular order, amendments require a 60-vote threshold for adoption. It is possible the Republicans could still fight that rule change.
The nuance of Senate procedure is lost on the general public, however. What the public sees is that just hours after Sen. Cruz began his fight to defund ObamaCare through the House CR, the top 2 Republicans in the Senate announced their opposition to his plan.
The fight to defund ObamaCare may have ended Monday night.