On a conference call Thursday with reporters, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that the next stage in the fight to defund Obamacare occurs Friday when the Senate votes for cloture on the Continuing Resolution. Cruz says Senate Republicans must unite against Obamacare funding by voting against cloture.
“The vote that matters is the vote tomorrow on cloture,” Cruz explained, in response to a question from Breitbart News. “Any senator who votes yes on cloture tomorrow, is voting to give Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) the power to fully fund Obamacare. I will vote ‘no’ on cloture tomorrow. That vote is the fight.”
Cruz continued his answer “the vote tomorrow is cloture on the bill. That’s a vote to cut off debate, to stop debating the bill. That is the vote, that if 60 senators vote in favor of it, it will enable Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to fund Obamacare with a strict party-line 51-vote partisan majority.”
“They [Senate Republicans who are voting “yes” on cloture on Friday] have pointed to the subsequent vote on Reid’s amendment to fund Obamacare as the vote that matters,” Cruz said. “That’s a show vote. The vote on the amendment will be a straight party-line vote. Every Democrat at this point is likely to vote ‘yes,’ for Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) to fund Obamacare, every Republican is going to vote ‘no’ – 46 Republicans are going to vote ‘no’ on Harry Reid’s amendment. And that’s a complete show vote because they know at the time they cast the vote that Reid’s going to win.”
Cruz said that “show vote” is meant to allow establishment GOP senators to go home to their constituents to claim they opposed Obamacare funding even if they did not fight hard enough.
“So it is a vote that enables those Republican senators to go home to their constituents and say they voted ‘no,'” Cruz said. “But it is a vote that at the moment they cast it, they knew there was no chance at prevailing. That’s why it’s the cloture vote that matters. If 46 Republicans stick together on the cloture vote, Reid can’t fund Obamacare. In fact, we only need 41 Republicans. And so the vote that matters tomorrow is the cloture vote on the bill and if Republicans stand together, if Republicans are united, we can prevent Harry Reid and Barack Obama from using this bill to fund Obamacare. If Republicans are divided, if Republicans stand with Harry Reid instead of standing with conservatives, then Harry Reid can fund Obamacare and that’s why the vote that matters tomorrow is the cloture vote.”
Cruz added later in the call that “until we unite Republicans, we will not succeed in picking off any Democrats.”
“Right now, unfortunately, where the effort to defund Obamacare is running into the biggest, most significant obstacle, is in working to unite Senate Republicans. Right now, by all appearances, Senate Republicans are not united. As long as Senate Republicans are divided, as long as there are Senate Republicans publicly saying they’re going to vote with Harry Reid on cloture, no Senate Democrat is going to break with their party.”
Cruz said that if 41 Senate Republicans stand together like House Republicans stood together, “the pressure, I believe, will begin to focus on Democrats, and in particular, red state Democrats.”
Cruz said the only way to get those red state Democrats, many of whom are up for re-election, to split with their party is for Senate GOP leadership to unite the party like House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) united the House GOP conference.
“You know there are a total of seven Democratic seats up for re-election in 2014 in red states where Mitt Romney won,” Cruz said. “Six of those seven, Barack Obama got 42 percent or less. If we hold cloture tomorrow, the focus I believe will shift to those red state Democrats. If you’re a Mark Pryor or you’re a Mary Landrieu, and you start getting 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 calls from your constituents, that changes the calculus, that changes the calculus significantly. But none of those red state Democrats are going to flip as long as Republicans are divided.”
Cruz added that all the Republicans who attack his efforts, or publicly work against them, are undermining any attempt to convince Democrats to side with Republicans and the grassroots against Obamacare.
“Every Republican who goes out and throws rocks at the effort to defund Obamacare is ensuring that no Democrat will cross the aisle,” Cruz said. “The critical prerequisite to winning Democratic votes in the Senate is first unifying the Republicans. We still have a significant distance to travel before we can unify Senate Republicans behind defunding Obamacare.”