Senate advances stopgap spending bill defunding ObamaCare

The Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to advance House-passed legislation to defund ObamaCare and keep the government open beyond September.

Senators voted 100 to 0 to end debate on a motion to proceed to the House-passed stopgap, which includes language to prioritize debt payments if Congress fails to raise the debt limit this fall. The vote sets the stage for Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) to offer an amendment to strip the language defunding ObamaCare and prioritizing the debt out of the House measure.

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Republicans said they support advancing the legislation because it would defund the controversial healthcare law.

“Invoking cloture on a bill that defunds ObamaCare, doesn’t raise taxes and respects the Budget Control Act, it strikes me as a no-brainer,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell says he backs Mueller probe after classified briefing Overnight Finance: Trump signs Dodd-Frank rollback | Snubs key Dems at ceremony | Senate confirms banking regulator | Lawmakers lash out on Trump auto tariffs Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons MORE (Ky.) told reporters.

Conservative Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Tapper lists 'conspiracy theories' Trump has shared MORE (R-Texas), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Putting pressure on Trump, House passes bill barring government from doing business with ZTE The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Tensions mount for House Republicans MORE (R-Fla.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeTrump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Denial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health GOP Senate primary heats up in Montana MORE (R-Utah) had urged GOP colleagues to block the bill to prevent Reid from scheduling amendments to eliminate the anti-ObamaCare provisions.

But Cruz voted in favor of the motion to proceed. He said Tuesday night during a 21-hour speech that the real vote on blocking the measure would come after Reid moves to strip language funding ObamaCare from the bill. 

Cruz held the Senate floor for more than 21 hours to protest President Obama’s signature healthcare law and to raise public awareness of Reid’s plans to strip down the House bill.

Reid chastised Cruz for what he called “a big waste of time” and warned it increases the possibility of a stalemate over government funding.

“The government is set to shut down in a matter of hours,” he said.

“It’s a shame we’re standing here having wasted perhaps two days, most of yesterday and a good part of today, when we could pass what we need to pass very quickly and send it back to the House,” he added.

The Senate must vote again on the actual motion to proceed to the stopgap spending measure. After filing his amendments, Reid must schedule another vote to end debate on the bill and set up a final vote. This second cloture vote could happen Friday.