Senate Democrats block Cruz's attempt to pass House funding measures

Lawmakers are still at an impasse on funding the government, which has been shutdown since after midnight Monday. House Republicans have tried to use a funding measure to defund and repeal parts of ObamaCare, but Senate Democrats have said the House needs to pass a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) without any unrelated provisions.

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Republicans' latest attempt to defund ObamaCare is to pass funding measures for national parks, the National Guard, veterans' programs and the National Institutes of Health, among others. Cruz has taken credit for that effort.

“There is no reason for us to have to chose between important government functions,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said. “I really believe we should open the government — all the government.”

Cruz asked unanimous consent to pass those smaller House measures, but Senate Democrats objected, saying he’s “picking and choosing” which parts of government to fund rather than funding all programs at the lower level Republicans have requested.

“The junior senator from Texas launched this government shutdown with his 21-hour speech,” Durbin said. “He’s trying to reconcile, in his mind, all the damage this government shutdown is causing. … What he is doing now is picking and choosing those he will allow in the life boat.”

Cruz blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, saying they were willing to defend ObamaCare at the risk of defunding the government.

“We should not shut the government down. A shutdown is a mistake,” Cruz said. “We are in a shutdown because the Democrats in this body have refused to negotiate and refused to compromise.”

The House is expected to continue to pass smaller funding measures throughout the weekend, but Reid has continued to say that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) could end the shutdown by allowing an up-or-down vote on the Senate-passed CR.

It's unclear where the fight will go from here, with both sides digging in for the first government shutdown since 1996.