In a conference call with conservative columnists and bloggers this morning, Senator Ted Cruz had one question:
Will Republican senators stand with Harry Reid — or with conservatives?
Cruz, who said that his fellow Republicans were the “most significant obstacle” to stopping the funding of Obamacare, is asking Americans to contact their GOP senators and demand a no vote on Harry Reid’s cloture vote.
“That’s the vote” said Cruz, who told the group he had finally gotten some sleep after his 21-hour all-night filibuster. Said Cruz: “Any Senator who votes yes (on Friday’s cloture vote) is voting to give Harry Reid the power” to fund Obamacare. “That vote is the fight. Vote no on cloture.”
The Senator repeatedly called tomorrow’s cloture vote which would make it possible to pass funding for Obamacare “Harry Reid’s cloture vote.”
Cruz was not shy in saying that all 46 Republicans were not on board — and that there were some, although he named no names or numbers, who were considering voting with Reid. This is the vote that counts, he said. The “cloture on the bill — vote no,” he repeated.
“A show vote” is how Cruz labeled an expected earlier vote on an amendment to strip the bill of Obamacare funding — and that all 46 Republicans are expected to vote no. But he repeated that this was merely a “show vote.” Which is to say the amendment is designed to give constituents the belief that a senator has voted against funding Obamacare — when they know ahead of time the amendment will fail and that President Obama has already won that vote.
Cruz said all the GOP needs on Friday is 41 votes of the GOP’s 46 senators, and that if the no vote on cloture succeeds, the Senate will simply continue to debate the bill. That in turn will begin to put serious pressure on Democrats from red states who are up for election in 2014.
The Texan said that he saw the Obamacare battle as a three stage fight:
- The creation of the website Don’t Fund It! (link here) was first. The site’s petition now has over 1.8 million signatories to senators, as well as supplying the direct line phone numbers for each of the 100 senators.
- The House had to act, which it has now done. Cruz noted that the Washington conventional wisdom was that the House Republicans would never vote to defund Obamacare — and the conventional wisdom was wrong.
- Unite Senate Republicans and then pick off Democrats. “Until we unite the Republicans,” Cruz said, it will be difficult to pick off Democrats.
If the Reid cloture vote is defeated, “then the House can stand its ground” and pass smaller CR’s (Continuing Resolutions) that fund specific sections of the government — and Cruz’s suggestion was the very thing to be funded should be the military.
Cruz made a point of saying that he had no time for personal attacks on colleagues and accused the media of a deliberate campaign to sabotage his opposition to Obamacare by repeatedly focusing on “personalities rather than substance.” This was a “deliberately designed distraction” and he called on his supporters to “keep focused on substance.”
Following his own example Cruz then launched into a barrage of substantive specifics as to the effect of what he called a “trainwreck” (as Democratic Senator Max Baucus called Obamacare) and a “nightmare,” a quote that he said came from a labor leader. Cruz discussed the stories already flooding his office from “all over the country” about sharply rising premiums, people losing their health care, losing full-time jobs transformed into part-time jobs when not losing jobs outright. He also cited the effects Obamacare was having on the costs of health care for seniors.
A questioner asked about the calls now streaming into congressional offices and Cruz said it was critical for senators to “listen to the American people.” The cloture vote against Obamacare, he said, would be “the most important vote any senator will cast this year.”
In closing Cruz said that the fundamental problem beyond ObamaCare was the divide between “the people and politicians.” Any senator or congressman, he said, “who expresses annoyance (at calls from constituents flooding their offices) has lost sight of why they were in office in the first place.” “A significant number of Republican and Democratic senators are not listening” he concluded.
With that, the rising star who is the junior senator from Texas had to run –- on to yet another battle.
This is an extremely thoughtful man of substance and conservative principle who is politically fearless. He had no qualms about vividly framing the issue as “Harry Reid’s cloture vote.”
His request to conservatives?
Call those senators — the Republican senators in particular. Don’t let anybody get away with a “Show Vote.” If they don’t oppose Friday’s “Harry Reid cloture vote” — then plain and simple they are voting to fund Obamacare.
Ted Cruz could not have been plainer.
Republican Senators are either with Harry Reid – or they’re against him. And the only way to make it clear is by voting against “Harry Reid’s cloture vote” on Friday.
Keep calling those Republican Senators, was Cruz’s message. Sign the Don’t Fund It petition http://www.dontfundobamacare.com/?gclid=CPvVk8e-6bkCFYQ7Ogod000ALw , call, e-mail – flood the zone.
Good for Ted Cruz.
Don’t let a single Republican senator off the hook.