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DO WE STILL HAVE A REPUBLIC?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 25, 2013) — Sen. Ted Cruz, who began speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday at 2:41 p.m., continued his presentation throughout the night with brief respites provided by Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee.
Cruz’s speech is not a true filibuster because the session has a declared end time of 12:00 noon.
At 10:28 a.m. EDT, Cruz is speaking about the history of the Founders, including John Hancock, John Lewis, and William Floyd. Reading from a history book, he spoke of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia by 56 men. The history he read included the persecution of the signers, many of whom were deprived of their property, family members, and livelihoods.
Some were thrown in jail and starved, according to the text Cruz read from. Some signers were kept as prisoners-of-war by the British; some were hung; some had their homes taken for British strongholds.
Cruz is speaking to protest the health care bill known as Obamacare. The House proposed that Obamacare be defunded while keeping the federal government open in a bill sent to the Senate on Friday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill is “dead on arrival.”
Cruz read, “Lives, fortunes, honor…” and recounted that one founder “lost his 13 children.” “All were the victims of manhunts…” he read. “Not one defected and went back on his pledged word,” Cruz said.
One was offered “his sons’ lives” if he were to recant on his quest for liberty from the British. “No,” the signer was reported to have said.
Cruz invoked the Declaration of Independence at 10:39 a.m. and suggested that each member of the Senate reread it. He read from the opening of the document and said, “These are far more than poetic words.” “It is freedom tested by blood and watered by fears,” Cruz read.
He decried both Republicans and Democrats “giving in” to the “Washington establishment,” urging politicians to listen to their constituents. “It is the role of Congress to answer their call,” Cruz said.
Mainstream media are reporting that a majority of Americans are opposed to a government shutdown even if they oppose Obamacare, citing “a recent survey” performed by a Republican pollster. However, the survey is from July 31-August 1, while Cruz and Lee were attempting to garner support for their “Don’t Fund It!” campaign against Obamacare.
Several outlets provided their opinions on Cruz’s speech:
An editorial writer at The Washington Post described it as “just Ted Cruz talking.”
The Washington Post Politics section stated that Cruz’s encouragement to Republicans and Democrats to defund Obamacare “stands no chance in the Senate.”
The Christian Science Monitor said that Cruz’s speech to protest Obamacare drew “sneers” from members of his own party.
On September 23, National Journal said that Cruz’s ideas were “counterintuitive.”
TIME called the House bill “doomed.”
National Journal called Cruz’s quest “doomed-to-fail.”
Politico said it was a “failing quest.”
CNN questioned Cruz’s motives.
ABC called Cruz’s commentary “largely a made-for-cable-TV demonstration.”
GQ called Cruz’s “The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas.”
The Washington Post also said that Cruz’s actions were “frantic.”
The Los Angeles Times called Cruz “wacko like a fox.”
U.S. News & World Report said that Cruz conducted a “fake filibuster.”
Time called Cruz’s speech “weird.” It also opined that Cruz “is going to lose his fight to stop Obamacare.” Time’s managing editor, Richard Stengel, was hired by Obama to take a position with the U.S. State Department. Stengel oversaw a cover story written by Barton Gellman which incorrectly depicted Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III and Darren Wesley Huff as criminals who intended violence against government installations when they were trying to remove an illegally-serving grand jury foreman in Monroe County, TN.
Rubio was still speaking at 11:02 after relating numerous stories from his constituents about their work hours having been reduced and their health insurance having been dropped as a result of the impact of Obamacare. Rubio said that “the American dream” is being “threatened” by Obamacare, which he called a “catastrophe.”
At 11:06, Cruz retook the floor from Rubio and said that “the assistant Majority Leader is on the floor.” Cruz then asked him, “if he can,” to come to the floor so that Cruz could make some “consent requests.” Cruz then acknowledged Sen. Charles Grassley’s presence to ask a question.
Grassley asked a question, then the assistant Majority Leader, Sen. Richard Durbin, came to the floor at Cruz’s request. Durbin gave an example of a 62-year-old woman who had no health insurance who will be able to have it under “Obamacare.” “As you condemn Obamacare…Judy, 62 years old,, a lifetime of work, diabetes…first time to get health insurance…you want to abolish a plan that would allow Judy to get health insurance for the first time in her life?” Durbin asked.
Cruz responded that the private marketplace and individuals should drive health care, not the government. He said that “Judy” should have access to health insurance through other types of reforms. “Obamacare is causing people all over the country to lose their health insurance,” Cruz said. He then asked Durbin, “Do you want people to lose their health insurance?”
Cruz also objected to the “special exemption” for members of Congress.
Cruz referred to the letter which the head of the AFL-CIO wrote which indicated great dissatisfaction with Obamacare to whom Cruz referred to as “Hoffa” but most likely meant “Trumpka.”
After Durbin said that 54 companies will be offering insurance in Texas as a result of state insurance exchanges, Cruz responded that he wants to see the entire Obamacare bill stricken. When Durbin pressed Cruz to answer whether or not he and his family are covered by “first-class health care” provided to federal employees, Cruz said, “I am eligible for it but I am not currently covered by it.”
Cruz said the cloture vote should be “visible for the whole country” and not on Saturday, when the American people would likely not be paying attention.
At 11:27, Cruz acknowledged that he was “weary” but that his legs still had strength for him to stand and asked for more time to continue speaking from the Majority.
At 11:28, “Madam President” interruption Cruz to ask Harry Reid for his comments on Cruz’s request. Cruz pointed out that he had not yielded the floor, to which the woman said, “The senator is correct.”
At 11:30, Cruz began to thank staff, the Capitol Police, his staff, Democrat and Republican staffs, and the parliamentarians. He thanked the mail clerk, chief reporter, staff of the Congressional Record, and the Sergeant-at-Arms.
Cruz said that at 12:00, his time would be “cut off by force.” At 11:37, Cruz objected to Reid’s consumption of his time with an alleged question but which Cruz said became a speech.
Reid then presented his question, which was if Cruz would be willing to yield 15 minutes of time to Sen. John McCain, to which Cruz said he would not. “Under the rules, there’s nothing to yield,” Cruz said to Reid.
Cruz refused to yield for a “parliamentary question.” “At this time, our time is expiring…” Cruz said, including that other Republicans wanted to speak.
Sen. Jeff Sessions said he believed Cruz had the right to hold the floor until 12:00.
At 11:46, Sen. Mike Lee confirmed that he and others were “up all night” to “express their views so well and so forcefully to the American people.” Lee said that although it appeared that “Washington has the upper hand,” he said that the people will ultimately have the control.
Cruz responded that Washington is not “listening to the American people.” Cruz decried the lack of time spent in the Senate talking about “jobs and the economy,” about which he said citizens are most concerned. “The Democratic majority is not interested in that conversation,” he said.
“The defense of Obamacare is now indefensible,” Cruz said, faulting Democrats for not taking part in his discussion. He again mentioned that companies are not expanding and are reducing employees’ hours because of Obamacare. “They’re not hiring people,” he said.
Cruz said that “the rich and powerful” not have special exemptions and that Obama had “granted exceptions illegally” to the health care.
The answer is “Defund this bill…'” Cruz said.
At 11:56 a.m., Cruz suggested that everyone “ask for the Lord’s guidance” in closing the session.
Cruz asked for unanimous consent to waive the cloture vote, to which Reid responded, “We should be moving quickly to get this to the House…”
Cruz then asked if the cloture motion were filed, that it could occur on Friday, to which Reid said, “We have a cloture vote at 1:00…I object.”
“Then it appears I have the floor for another 90 seconds or so…” Cruz said, then addressed himself to “the American people.” He said that the Senate members work for them. He said constituents are “frustrated” that Congress does not listen to them. He urged “all 46 Republicans” to unite and prevent Obamacare from being funded. He said giving the majority leader was wrong.
At noon, Sen. Patrick Leahy announced that the session was ended, after which a prayer commenced.
Harry Reid took the floor and called Cruz’s speech “a waste of time” because the government is due to shut down “in a matter of hours.” The deadline for a spending bill is September 30 at midnight.
Reid called those opposing Obamacare part of “the new anarchy.”
Twitter response to Cruz’s speech is being posted rapidly afterward.