Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid caused one of America’s most vile all-time records to remain standing Wednesday.
Sen. Ted Cruz yielded the floor shortly after noon Wednesday at the behest of Reid after a lengthy quasi-filibuster. The Texas Republican had reportedly negotiated an agreement with Reid beforehand that he would be able to speak until noon Wednesday but not hold an actual filibuster.
Cruz clearly remained energetic after speaking for more than 21 hours, suggesting that if Reid had not stopped the speech to hold the stopgap budget vote, Cruz could easily have shattered Strom Thurmond’s racist filibuster record.
The late South Carolina Sen. Thurmond holds the filibuster record at 24 hours, 18 minutes for a 1957 diatribe against civil rights legislation. Thanks to Reid, Thurmond’s reprehensible stemwinder will remain #1 in Senate record books.
“I ask my friend from Texas to, uh, yield to me, without losing his right to the floor, for a colloquy,” Reid told Cruz, who had been speaking for more than 21 hours.
“With the reservation that I do not lose the right to the floor” Cruz said he would yield to a colloquy.
“This is not a filibuster. This is an agreement that he and I made that he could talk,” Reid said in his subsequent remarks before Cruz yielded the floor.
Cruz was speaking to keep the budget resolution from coming to the Senate floor because it sets the stage for Reid to delete provisions defunding Obamacare.
Had Reid allowed Cruz to continue his quasi-filibuster past 24 hours, 18 minutes, the Senate could have given Cruz the record with an asterisk or something. But no, as it stands, Thurmond still holds the Senate record for his anti-civil rights filibuster. Thanks, Senator Reid.
The artificial limit on Cruz’s quasi-filibuster also means the record still belongs to the Democratic Party. Thurmond was a Democrat at the time of his racist filibuster.