Ted Cruz's All-Night Speech: Senators’ Obligation Is to the People, Not the Party
Cruz was in the 14th hour of his speech, a plea to Senate Republicans to prevent Senate Democrats from being able to fund Obamacare on a straight, party-line vote.
Some Republicans may be willing to let Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats do that, but “it is my sincere hope between now and the vote on Friday or Saturday that their better angels prevail,” Cruz said.
At times during his talkathon, the Texas Republican read from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham,” before returning to the main point.
Any Democrat who votes with Republicans in favor of defunding Obamacare in the continuing resolution would face “swift retribution,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we have a higher obligation. We have an obligation to the constituents who sent us here.
“And any Republican – I know there are some Republicans who are saying, ‘I am going to support cloture, I am going to support giving Harry Reid the ability to fund Obamacare. Why? Because my leadership is telling me to. And I’m a good soldier -- I will salute and march into battle in whatever direction leadership instructs.’”
Cruz urged every Republican to “ask yourself that same test that Ayn Rand laid out -- What is morality? Judgment to distinguish right and wrong; vision to see the truth and courage to act upon it; dedication to that which is good; integrity to stand by the good at any price.”
Cruz noted that even congressional Democrats who support Obamacare want to exempt themselves from its rules, as do labor unions – because the law is not working.
“And so I would urge every Republican who is here, before you make a decision how to vote on cloture on this bill on Friday or Saturday, and I think certainly in the time I have been in the Senate this is the most consequential vote I will cast… I would ask every Republican to ask not simply, what does party leadership want you to do. What’s the right thing to do for your constituents?
Cruz asked Republican senators what would happen “if you gathered a hundred constituents in a room and you asked them, how should I vote on this motion?... Should I as your senator, your Republican U.S. senator, vote to allow Harry Reid and the Democrats to fully fund Obamacare with no changes, no improvement to address the train wreck that is Obamacare on a purely party-line, partisan vote of only Democrats?
“I will wager all the money in my bank account … it wouldn’t be a 50-50 proposition. I don’t even think it would be a 60-40 proposition,” Cruz said.
“Your constituents overwhelmingly would say no, don’t vote to give Harry Reid the ability to fund Obamacare without fixing this train wreck, without stopping this nightmare.
“All that it takes for us to do the right thing is to listen to the people. It’s not complicated. It’s not rocket science. Listen to the people.”
Technically, Cruz's speech is not a filibuster because it will not delay Wednesday's scheduled procedural vote.