When an exhausted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz walked out of the Senate chamber shortly after noon on Wednesday, he was asked point blank by one of the dozens of reporters who swarmed him what he accomplished by spending more than 21 hours arguing against Obamacare on the Senate floor.
“I hope that this filibuster has helped frame this debate for the American people,” the Republican senator said, “has provided an opportunity for the American people to engage in this debate and express our view that Obamacare isn’t working and that it is hurting hardworking Americans across this country.”
Cruz spoke to reporters for about five minutes, repeating his arguments against President Barack Obama’s health-care law. “At this point, I think I have spoken long enough,” he said to laughter before being ushered away.
Cruz started speaking at 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday and didn’t stop until noon on Wednesday. He started his speech by saying, “I plan to speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.”
His speech — that while resembling a filibuster is technically not one — lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes, and is the fourth longest speech ever given on the Senate floor.
Cruz’s marathon speech comes as Congress is debating whether to tie the proposal to defund Obamacare to the continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through the rest of the year.