25 GOP Senators Vote to Give Reid Cloture, Allowing Simple Majority to Restore Obamacare Funding

Terence P. Jeffrey | September 27, 2013 | 5:53pm EDT
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Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) - Twenty-five Republican senators—led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)--voted today in favor of  invoking cloture on the House-passed continuing resolution to fund the government past Monday, thus putting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) in a position where he could strip the bill of its provisions defunding Obamacare with a simple party-line majority instead of the 60 votes needed on cloture.

House and Senate conservatives had hoped that the 46 Republicans in the Senate would join together and oppose cloture until Reid agreed to use a Senate rule that requires amendments to clear a 60-vote threshold. Had Senate Republicans done that, Reid would have needed to put together a bipartisan 60-vote majority in order to restore Obamacare funding.

But Senate Republicans split on the cloture vote. Twenty-five joined with Reid and all 54 Senate Democrats to vote for cloture. Nineteen Republicans voted against cloture. Two Republicans—Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)—missed today’s votes because they were attending weddings. Flake was attending his son’s wedding and Hatch his granddaughter.

As predicted, soon after the 25 Republicans joined with all Senate Democrats to invoke cloture on the CR, Reid offered an amendment to strip the CR of the language defunding Obamacare. Reid’s amendment resurrecting Obamacare—which at that point, after cloture, needed only a simple majority to pass--was approved on a party-line vote. All 54 Democrats voted for it, and all 44 Republicans present in the Senate at the time voted against it.

Flake issued a statement saying he would have voted against cloture, and also against Reid’s amendment and the final CR that funded Obamacare. Hatch Spokesman Matthew Harakal said Hatch would have voted for cloture—making him the 26th Senate Republican to do so—but then would have voted against Reid’s amendment and the final CR.

These are the 25 Republicans who voted with Reid to invoke cloture on the CR:

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

John Barrasso (R-WY)

Roy Blunt (R-MO)

John Boozman (R-AR)

Richard Burr (R-NC)

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Jeff Chiesa (R-NJ)

Daniel Coats (R-IN)

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Bob Corker (R-TN)

John Cornyn (R-TX)

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

John Hoeven (R-ND)

Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Mike Johanns (R-NE)

Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Ron Johnson (R-WI)

John McCain (R-AZ)

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

John Thune (R-SD)

Roger Wicker (R-MS)

These are the 19 Republican senators who voted against cloture:

Mike Crapo (R-ID)

Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Mike Enzi (R-WY)

Deb Fischer (R-NE)

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Dean Heller (R-NV)

Jim Inhofe (R-OK)

Mike Lee (R-UT)

Jerry Moran (R-KS)

Rand Paul (R-KY)

Rob Portman (R-OH)

James Risch (R-ID)

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Tim Scott (R-SC)

Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Pat Toomey (R-PA)

David Vitter (R-LA)

"Today, far too many Republicans joined Harry Reid in giving the Democrats the ability to fund Obamacare,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) after the votes.

"But this fight continues,” he said. “Now the bill returns to the House. The House showed remarkable courage voting to defund Obamacare, and I hope and believe that the House will stand by their resolve and continue to lead the effort to stop the Obamacare train wreck.”

Shortly before the vote, Sen. Reid said he was pleased with what “many” Senate Republicans were doing.

“I am pleased that so many of my Senate Republican colleagues seem to understand the stakes of this debate: the economic health of a still-struggling nation and the economic well-being of still-struggling families,” said Reid. “I urge sensible Republicans in the House of Representatives to follow their lead.”

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