During a colloquy aiding Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in his filibuster-like Senate floor speech Tuesday evening, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) challenged the assertion that Senate Republicans must vote for cloture to support the House-passed continuing resolution (CR) that defunds Obamacare, offering two alternative methods for passage which preserve that element of the legislation.
“Now, it’s interesting that what we’re discussing here today, much of what we’ve been discussing today has been on the upcoming cloture vote,” Lee said. “There have been those who have argued that if you want to support the continuing resolution passed by the House of Representatives–remember, this is the continuing resolution that will keep our federal government funded while defunding Obamacare–if you want to support that, that you must vote yes on the cloture vote on the bill.”
Lee then questioned the logic of that argument, which has been presented by GOP Senate leadership.
“It’s anticipated that Senator Harry Reid… and 53 democratic allies, as I understand, will all be voting for cloture on that bill,” he said. “That begs the question… does that mean that Harry Reid and the 53 Democrats likely to follow him are supporting the House-passed Continuing Resolution, the one that keeps government funded while defunding Obamacare? I find that a little strange. I find it a little counterintuitive.”
Lee argued the logic is not sound.
“That’s a problem, indeed, because that… [allows] neither an open amendment process nor an up-or-down vote on the House-passed resolution in as-is condition–in either of those circumstances, we would be fine,” Lee said. “But we’re not getting that. We’re getting stuck with something else. He wants to gut the House-passed continuing resolution of the defunding language without an open amendment process and without the opportunity for an up-or-down vote.”
“So in that circumstance, I don’t understand why it would be the case that Republicans would feel that voting ‘yes’ would be supporting the House of Representatives and voting ‘no’ would be voting against the House of Representatives.”
Then Lee told Cruz that it seems to him that such a move “would be quite the opposite of that.”
“It seems to me, Senator Cruz, that if–if one, in fact, wanted to stand behind the House of Representatives and stand behind their willingness to defend the American people and protect them from this harmful law… [one] would necessarily need to vote ‘no’ if, in fact, Senator Reid does what we expect him to do later this week.”