Cruz Explains GOP's Options to Protect Obamacare Defunding

Cruz Explains GOP's Options to Protect Obamacare Defunding

In an appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that if Senate Republicans want to stop Obamacare, they need to stick together.

Cruz will likely attempt to filibuster the House Continuing Resolution (CR) that defunds the Affordable Care Act until Senate Republicans use all the options Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has to block any procedural tricks from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

Reid is expected to attempt to use a simple majority, or 51-vote threshold, to strip the Obamacare defunding language from the House CR. Cruz wants any Reid amendment to meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning Reid would need at least six Republican votes–as he currently only controls the 52 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats. 

Host Chris Wallace asked Cruz about a clip where he said he would do whatever he can, “including a talking filibuster,” in order to “block consideration of the bill that the House just passed. The problem is you would be blocking a bill which you actually support, which would fund the government but defund Obamacare,” Wallace explained. S”o how are you going to get other Republican Senators on board to block a bill that you support?”

Cruz replied that that the Senate Republican caucus needs to stand together, just like the House Republicans did last week.

“In my view, Senate Republicans should stand united to stop Harry Reid from changing the House bill and, in particular, from inserting the funding for Obamacare with 51 votes,” he said. ‘That’s going to be the fight, is procedurally, whether he can use a straight party line vote, use just Democrats, to put Obamacare back.”

After a followup question, Cruz said that the “first order of business” is going to be to “ask Harry Reid if he will agree to allow amendments to be subject to a 60-vote threshold, and that’s typical in the Senate. We have a lot of amendments that are subject to 60-vote thresholds.”

Cruz said that Reid, “in all likelilood,” will say “no” when pressured on making all amendments subject to a 60-vote threshold, “because he wants to use brute political power to force Obamacare funding through with just Democrats, exactly the same way he passed the bill three years ago.”

“Now if he does that, Senate Republicans have the tool that the minority uses when the Majority Leader abuses his power, which is we can deny cloture,” Cruz said. “We can filibuster and say we will not allow you to add the funding back for Obamacare with just 51 votes.”

Cruz then made a case that the Senate Minority should use the rights it has available to fight this battle.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Cruz said in response to Wallace asking him about a specific rule in the Senate that allows a simple majority vote on amendments after cloture is invoked. “You’re right, that is one rule. But there is another rule that says it takes 60 votes to get cloture. And that’s the reason the Senate, generally, on controversial votes, we work out an agreement for it to be subject to a 60-vote threshold. Because, if the Majority is going to run the Minority over with a train, the Minority has the ability to stop them.”