Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and some of his Republicans ended their filibuster-style speech Wednesday against Obamacare after more than 21 hours.
The tea party-backed Texas senator began speaking at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday and continued until shortly after noon Wednesday, in a speech that covered a wide range of unrelated topics, such as Dr. Seuss stories, Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” Toby Keith song lyrics and multiple references to an awards acceptance speech given by actor Ashton Kutcher.
He also compared Senate Republicans to the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars movies and wondered whether a masked, Darth Vader-like figure would emerge to make disturbing comment to his closest Senate ally, Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee.
“Mike Lee, I am your father,” Cruz said, deepening his voice to deliver a variation on Vader’s signature line from the films.
The speech could not be officially considered a filibuster, however, because it did not delay Senate business.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said he and Cruz reached an agreement to allow the Republican first-term senator to speak before the Senate voted on a measure to keep the government funded after the fiscal year ends Monday.
Cruz acknowledged that Reid had the right to end his speech on the Senate floor, and he agreed to stop talking by noon.
As the hour neared, Reid offered to let Cruz and his Senate supporters continue talking until 1 p.m., when a cloture vote is scheduled on the government funding bill.
But Cruz stuck to his earlier agreement with the Senate’s top Democrat, perhaps because he had other plans.
Cruz repeatedly referred to his speech as a “filibuster” during his appearance on Limbaugh’s show, and he complained about his Republican Senate colleagues “showboating” and making symbolic gestures for their constituents.
“We don’t even talk about how to win a fight,” Cruz said.