"I would call on all 46 Republicans to unite, to stand together and vote against cloture on the bill," Cruz said as his final words, which were met with applause. "Because otherwise if we vote with the Senate Leader and Democrats we will be voting to allow the majority leader to strip defunding ObamaCare from the measure."
Cruz yielded the floor at noon, even though Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidLawmakers eye early exit from Washington McCain to support waiver for Mattis, Trump team says Reeling Dems look for new leader MORE (D-Nev.) said in a floor discussion with him that he could go until 1 p.m. if he wanted. Cruz said he was under a different impression, and would yield at noon.
Cruz did propose that he be allowed to speak later in the day, saying that he pledged to talk until he can't stand anymore, and that he still has some energy left.
"Although I am weary, there is still at least strength in my legs to stand a little longer," he said.
"If Republicans vote with Democrats, then this body will cut off debate on this bill," Cruz said Tuesday. "And we are silencing the voice of the Senate and the voice of the people."
Cruz has been the center of attention on the defunding issue, but also the center of criticism from Republicans who see no point in delaying legislation to fund the government in order to push the idea of defunding the law, especially given Democratic control of the Senate and the White House. Cruz rejected this criticism several times Tuesday and Wednesday, and called on all GOP senators to support his fight to defund ObamaCare.
But other than providing a rallying point for opponents of ObamaCare, Cruz's marathon session was essentially a symbolic stand. Several Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Ky.), have said they don't support delaying the bill.
Cruz's filibuster was also more of a delay tactic than an attempt to block the bill. Senate Democrats already filed a motion to end debate on the motion to proceed to the bill, which means the vote to end debate will happen by Wednesday regardless of Cruz's filibuster.
That prompted Reid to declare on Tuesday that Cruz's remarks would not be a filibuster at all. His staff followed up with a tweet later that said Cruz's filibuster is "fake."
"Fun fact: Senator Cruz pre-negotiated the terms of his #fakefilibuster with Senator Reid yesterday. Not exactly a Mr. Smith moment," tweeted Adam Jentleson, Reid's communications director.
However, the Senate website says a filibuster is any attempt to block or delay legislation, which means his remarks could be seen as a talking filibuster that delays the bill, even if it had no ability to stop it.
Cruz himself didn't label his remarks one way or the other, and instead repeated that his speech is an attempt to "make D.C. listen."
"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."
As he went on, he remarked that many people started to use Twitter with the hashtag "makeDClisten."
At 8 p.m. Tuesday, Cruz broke from his criticism of ObamaCare and read Green Eggs and Ham to his two young daughters, who were getting ready for bed.
"I wanted to take an opportunity that I don’t usually have when I’m in D.C., to read them a couple of bedtime stories,” Cruz said.
Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Warren pushes Dems to get tough with Trump MORE (D-Ill.) and Sen. Tim KaineTim KaineTerry McAuliffe: Clinton likely done with politics Becerra leaving Congress to become Calif. attorney general Kaine: 'We have to be at the table’ for recounts MORE (D-Va.) were the only Democrats to visit the floor to challenge Cruz's challenge of ObamaCare. Durbin implied that Cruz favors a government shutdown, by tying a spending bill to defunding ObamaCare.
But Cruz said it would be the fault of Democrats if the government shuts down.
"I do not believe we should shut down the federal government," Cruz said. "The only reason we might shut down the federal government is if President Obama and Majority Leader Reid decide they want to force a government shutdown."
Several GOP senators came to the floor to give Cruz a break from talking, including Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulThe ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Rand Paul skeptical about Romney as secretary of State Trump should propose amnesty — for unpaid ObamaCare penalties MORE (R-Ky.), who got help from Cruz and other during his more than 12-hour filibuster back in March.
Paul jokingly advised Cruz to wear comfortable shoes, and told him not to eat in front of the camera — Paul notoriously scarfed down chocolate and other snacks during his filibuster.
Sen. Mike LeeMike LeeWill Trump back women’s museum? Overnight Cybersecurity: Lawmakers pushing for vote to delay warrant rule changes Coons to call for voice vote to halt changes to hacking rule MORE (R-Utah), who also pressed for the defunding language, joined Cruz for most of the evening and thanked the House for passing the language.
"The House of Representatives showed that ... at least that side of D.C., that side of the Capitol, was listening, and I applaud the Speaker of the House and the other leaders in the House of Representatives who did that," Lee said. "That suggests to me that they were listening on that side of the House."
Sens. David VitterDavid VitterPoll: Republican holds 14-point lead in Louisiana Senate runoff Louisiana dishes last serving of political gumbo Trump tweets about flag burning, setting off a battle MORE (R-La.) and Mike EnziMike EnziPresident-elect Trump: Please drain the student loan swamp Liz Cheney wins Wyoming House seat GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election MORE (R-Wyo.) noted the "special deal" that members of Congress and their staff will get to sign up to the health insurance exchanges under ObamaCare. Vitter and Enzi were referring to a rule that said members and staff can still receive government subsidies for their health insurance even when they are forced to use the new exchanges.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioThe ignored question: What does the future Republican Party look like? Graham to roll out extension of Obama immigration program Trump and Cuba: A murky future MORE (R-Fla.) stopped by in the early evening to argue that ObamaCare is destroying the American dream.
"There can't be an America without the American Dream ... and that is what's being undermined by ObamaCare," Rubio said. "If your dream is to open your own business and grow it, then ObamaCare is hurting you."
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump's can-do Cabinet Civil rights groups: Sessions unfit for AG The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ala.) said he'd support Cruz's effort and vote against advancing the spending resolution until changes to the healthcare law are guaranteed.
"I'm going to oppose any advancing of the final bill that doesn’t provide some change in this ObamaCare legislation," Sessions said. "We just have to use the opportunities that we have."
Cruz was rejoined by many of his GOP colleagues Wednesday morning, after those colleagues had a chance to eat and sleep. Sen. Pat RobertsPat RobertsGOP debates going big on tax reform Memo to the LGBT community: Donald Trump is not your enemy Bob McDonnell to join Regent Univ. faculty MORE (R-Kan.) reached the floor again just before 8 a.m. to ask how Cruz was holding up, and to offer to buy him breakfast when it's all over.