Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s battle to pass the House-approved, Obamacare-defunding temporary budget bill has begun.
Cruz last week promised to use “any procedural means necessary” to keep a provision that would defund Obamacare in the bill, which funds the government through Dec. 15 and would prevent a government shutdown. It passed the House on Friday.
On Monday, Cruz asked for the Senate to vote on the bill without changing it at all or debating it. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who earlier in the day declared any bill defunding Obamacare “dead on arrival” and plans to strip out that provision before sending the government-funding bill back to the House, said Cruz’s effort was doomed.
“The president would veto this continuing resolution, so it is not going to become law anyway,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Reid had accused Republicans of taking “hostages,” as the government will shut down if the two parties cannot come to an agreement in the next week. Cruz said that the Senate could avoid such a shutdown if Reid agreed to a vote and the bill passed.
“The government shutdown,” Cruz said, “would be taken off the table.” Instead, Cruz alleged that Reid was using “the threat of a default to engage in brinksmanship to try to force Obamacare on the American people,” and said that any amendment to the bill should have to receive at least 60 votes.
A number of Republican senators have lambasted Cruz’s plan to defund Obamacare, and Cruz himself acknowledged last week that the Senate majority leader likely has the votes to alter the bill.