Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to slow down consideration of a House bill aimed at defunding ObamaCare.
While Cruz's gambit had the flavor of a talking filibuster, Senate Democrats said it didn't technically qualify because it won't stop a scheduled procedural vote Wednesday that will allow senators to take up the House bill.
Cruz is attempting to delay — for as long as possible — consideration of a continuing resolution passed last week by the House, which funds the government through mid-December while also stripping funding for the Affordable Care Act.
A vote to end debate on the motion to proceed is expected Wednesday, and Cruz's actions cannot stop that from happening.
"There is no filibuster today," Reid said. "We are going to vote tomorrow. Under the rules no one can stop that."
Because cloture on proceeding to the bill was filed on Monday, the vote will occur shortly after noon Wednesday, even if Cruz talks up until that point.
Cruz acknowledged that the crucial vote would come later in the week when senators take a position on ending debating on the resolution.
"If Republicans vote with Democrats, then this body will cut off debate on this bill," Cruz said. "And we are silencing the voice of the Senate and the voice of the people."
Cruz said Democrats are not listening to their constituents, who he said oppose ObamaCare.
“I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and 300 million Americans,” Cruz said. “It is time, quite frankly, to make D.C. listen.
“The problem is the elected leaders are not listening to their constituents.”
The government will shut down Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't approve some form of government funding measure.
Republicans have argued that ObamaCare would harm the economy by raising healthcare costs and forcing employer mandates. Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have said this is the best opportunity Republicans have to stop the healthcare law.
Democrats point out that the law is already benefiting those with pre-existing conditions who can’t be denied coverage, people younger than 26 who can stay on a parent’s insurance plan and women who now pay less for preventive healthcare.