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Senate Republican Stages 21-Hour Fillibuster

posted on September 27, 2013

Consumer confidence in the economy has been shaken over the past few months while business and industry appear to be throwing off some of the weight that is slowing growth.

According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence decreased last month as concerns about the short-term outlook for both jobs and earnings resurfaced.

Despite the change in attitude, officials with the Commerce Department say orders for durable goods -- items expected to last at least three years -- increased 0.1 percent in August after plummeting more than 8 percent in July.

When the volatile aircraft sector is removed, core durable goods - a leading indicator of future economic growth - also rose 1.5 percent after posting a decline.

With the October 1st Federal Government shutdown looming, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Congress this week the government's ability to borrow funds will end on October 17.

And Wall Street suffered losses six of the past seven sessions in anticipation of Washington politicians remaining deadlocked well-beyond midnight on September 30th.

Unless a bitterly-divided Congress sends a temporary spending bill to President Obama before Tuesday, the federal government will be forced to shut down.  Never ones to let a good crisis go to waste, Republicans seized the predicament to further their agenda.

And with the clock ticking to yet another self-imposed fiscal deadline, Tea Party Republicans practiced a little brinksmanship this week, promising to approve the spending bill but only if the legislation also abolished funding for President Obama’s signature health care overhaul.

Senate Republican Stages 21-Hour Fillibuster

Sen. Ted Cruz, R – Texas: “…Do you like Green Eggs and Ham?”

 In a rambling floor speech that alluded to everything from the Revolutionary War to Dr. Seuss, Freshman Senator Ted Cruz kept the Senate in session Tuesday night in an all-out attempt to derail President Obama's signature health care law.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R – Texas: “Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse…”

 For 21 hours and 19 minutes, the Texas Republican charmed the tea party wing of the GOP; irritated leaders on the other side of the aisle; and complicated efforts for House Republicans seeking support for the spending measure to avert a government shutdown.   

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D - Vermont: "The Senate will be in order.”

 Ultimately Cruz ran out of time and the Senate voted unanimously to continue to debate on the controversial proposal. 

Rep. John Boehner, R – Ohio: “I expect by Senate colleagues to do everything they can to defund this law just like the House is going to do.”

 While the House has already approved legislation defunding the three-year-old health care law, Senate Democrats have more than enough votes to restore the funds, and Majority Leader Harry Reid called Cruz's turn in the spotlight "a big waste of time." 

But Senator Charles Grassley says it’s Harry Reid who is wasting time.  The Iowa Republican questioned Reid’s leadership and praised Cruz’s quasi filibuster.

Sen. Charles Grassley R – Iowa: “It’s really serving the prime function of the Senate, which is to deliberate.  Historically, that’s what the Senate has done. But under Senator Reid in the last six years, filing cloture to cut off debate, filling the tree so any Senator who has a right to offer an amendment under the president doesn’t get a  chance to offer an amendment.  We’ve gone from having about 500 roll calls a year six years ago down to about 300 and some.  We are hardly meeting on any Fridays. We don’t start voting on Mondays until 5:30.  Reid has basically shut down the Senate so it doesn’t fill it’s constitutional function of being a deliberative body.  And when you have somebody like Cru, you know, you gotta’ applaud him for having the Senate serve its constitutional function of deliberating.”    

Any differences between the Senate and House in the spending measure must be reconciled and the bill signed into law by next Tuesday to avert at least a partial shutdown.

Tags: Democrats fillibuster government shutdown health care House obamacare Republicans senate