A marathon speech started Tuesday afternoon by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to block funding for Obamacare continued into Wednesday morning.
Cruz started speaking Tuesday at 2:41 p.m., quickly comparing President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to slavery during the Civil War and Nazis during World War II, before reciting the Dr. Seuss story, Green Eggs and Ham, later in the evening.
The Washington Post reported that Cruz also quoted song lyrics by country music star Toby Keith, read excerpts from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” quoted the popular reality TV show “Duck Dynasty,” discussed a recent award acceptance speech by actor Ashton Kutcher, cited the unemployment rate among black teenagers, and mentioned the restaurant chains Denny’s, Benihana and White Castle.
Cruz’ speech cannot be officially considered a “filibuster” unless it delays Senate business. In this case, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already locked in a vote for Wednesday morning. That can only be stopped if 41 senators object, which is highly unlikely.
Cruz, who’d vowed to speak until he was “no longer able to stand,” wore more comfortable black tennis shoes to match his black suit, but he complained his feet had started to hurt after about 14 hours.
“I will say standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there’s sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved,” Cruz said, according to ABC News. “But you know what? There’s far more pain involved in rolling over…far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity.”
Cruz was relieved at times by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY), James Imhofe (R-OK) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) occasionally offered long-form questions, as permitted by Senate rules, speaking at times for nearly an hour.
Rubio provided backup to Cruz starting about 6 a.m. Wednesday with a speech of his own.
Rubio said the Affordable Care Act would hurt the working poor, immigrants and others the law is intended to help, arguing that it would impede job growth.
“This is a fight on behalf of the people who do not have the power or influence to fight for themselves,” Rubio said.