Railing against Obamacare for 21 hours and 19 minutes on the Senate floor, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally took his seat noon Wednesday to applause from the gallery.
The Lone Star State conservative maintained an impressive speech, aided at various times by his Republican colleagues, against funding Obamacare in a House-passed bill that would keep the government operating past Sept. 30. In speaking for 21 hours, Cruz bested Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) filibuster in March against the Obama administration’s drone policy, but ultimately fell short of the longest filibuster in history held by Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, which lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes.
Moments after Cruz concluded his remarks, which were limited in time by Senate rules due to a procedural vote that was previously scheduled, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) regained control of the floor and proclaimed the effort made by the junior senator from Texas as a “big waste of time.”
“With all due respect, I’m not sure we learned anything new … but it’s been interesting to watch,” Reid said.
“First of all, this is not a filibuster,” Reid also explained. “This is an agreement that he and I made that he could talk.”
The Senate is scheduled to vote at 1pm ET on cloture to proceed to the continuing resolution to fund the government. Cruz wanted his colleagues to block the motion to proceed to the bill unless a 60-vote threshold for funding Obamacare was set, a move staunchly opposed by the Democrats, the White House, and even a majority of the Senate Republican caucus.
Watch the closing moments of Cruz’s speech:
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.