The Texas legislator pulled an overnight talk-a-thon, that's still happening, on the Senate floor that included a reading of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to his daughters back home.
"I intend to speak in support of de-funding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand,"Cruz, sporting running shoes, said when he began his marathon speech on Tuesday afternoon.
Cruz has been leading the charge to tie de-funding President Barack Obama's health-care law to a spending measure, known as a continuing resolution, that has to pass through Congress in order to avoid a U.S. government shutdown next week. An agreement to keep funding the government must be reached by midnight Monday.
Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a measure on Friday that would fund the government until November — except for anything related to Obama's health-care law — and it's now in the hands of the Senate. The Democrat-controlled Senate is expected to strip out the provisions related to the health-care law and send the continuing resolution measure back to the House, potentially on the eve of next week's deadline. It's not clear what the House will then do with it.
Cruz's marathon speech on why the health-care law is "a train wreck" and a "jobs killer" has the appearance of a filibuster, but technically it's not. He will not be able to delay a procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday and will have to give up the floor according to Senate rules.
The speech, nonetheless, will help get Cruz in the record books as giving one of the longest talking sessions ever in the Senate.
Cruz took control of the Senate floor at 2:41 p.m. ET Tuesday and has used a variety of tactics to pass the time, including reading messages from Twitter and reading bedtime stories to his kids. He took some liberties with the text.
"When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either," Cruz said while reading from the famous Dr. Seuss tale. "They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. It is not working."
Fellow Tea Party Republicans including Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Mike Lee helped Cruz out by stepping in to speak, posing and answering questions, which allowed Cruz to give his mouth a break without giving up control of the floor. He must remain standing.
Lee discussed a childhood accident in which his foot was run over by a car driven by his father. Cruz recalled his first Christmas dinner with his future wife's vegetarian parents, which he described as "just like any other Christmas dinner except the entree never comes."
While he has some allies, there are many in Cruz's party who are not supporting the delaying tactics. They include the top Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. Republicans widely oppose Obamacare but some are worried their party will take the blame if a government shutdown happens on Tuesday.
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