While the cloture vote on the Continuing Resolution passed with GOP support on Friday 79-19, several senior powerful GOP senators bucked their leadership to side with freshmen Sens. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to oppose the Reid plan.
Cruz and Lee were backed by National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), the ranking member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee ranking member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) (R-ID), Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-ID), and Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee, until this year, voted with Cruz and Lee too, as did Senate Steering Committee chairman Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sens. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).
Young dynamos like Sens. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), also joined Cruz and Lee too to buck GOP leadership and the Democrats’ push for cloture.
Members of Senate GOP leadership, Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Senate GOP conference chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD), GOP conference vice-chair Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), and GOP Policy Committee chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) all voted for cloture.
Cruz denounced the vote in a statement, saying it is another example of the permanent political class in the U.S. Senate not paying attention to what Americans want. “Today’s vote by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Senate Democrats to fully fund Obamacare was yet the latest example of Washington not listening to the people,” Cruz said. “Obamacare is a ‘train wreck,’ a ‘nightmare,’ to use the words of its Democratic author and a union leader who previously supported the bill. It is the biggest job killer in America.”
Cruz added that the “fight continues.”
“Now the bill returns to the House,” Cruz said. “The House showed remarkable courage voting to defund Obamacare, and I hope and believe that the House will stand by their resolve and continue to lead the effort to stop the Obamacare train wreck. Obamacare is killing jobs, forcing people into part-time work, causing health insurance premiums to skyrocket, and threatening the healthcare of millions of Americans.”
Cruz also said that “far too many Republicans joined Harry Reid in giving the Democrats the ability to fund Obamacare.”
“When the bill comes back to the Senate, when the House yet again stands for principle and fights for the American people, I very much hope that Senate Republicans will rise to the challenge,” Cruz said. “We are stronger when we are united, and we can defeat Obamacare only if Senate Republicans come together, stand with House Republicans, and champion the millions of Americans being harmed by this disastrous healthcare law.”