Having put in more than 20 hours speaking out against Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz rounded out his feat by battling longtime Democrat Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.).
It's all rather impressive considering Cruz (R-Texas) had been speaking almost nonstop for nearly a day and his opponents were completely rested.
Durbin appeared in the final hours of Cruz’s speech to challenge him on his opposition to President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“Fifty million Americans have no insurance and you want to abolish the opportunity, through he marketplace, for them to buy affordable health insurance for the first time in their live,” Durbin said. “That’s what it comes down to."
Cruz was unimpressed with Durbin’s characterization of conservative opposition to Obamacare.
“The senator from Illinois made an action impugning my motives," Cruz said.
Durbin then asked Cruz if he opposes the provision of Obamacare that bars private insurers from turning away patients with pre-existing conditions.
Cruz responded by simply stating that the entire law should be repealed. Every word of it. He then brushed Durbin’s continued questions aside, saying "we are operating on some time constraints."
[sharequote align="center"]"I recognize the passion of the senator from Illinois, but I have not yielded the floor." [/sharequote]
The anti-Obamacare speech wasn't a filibuster in the sense that it could be used to hold up the senate's orders for the day. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed Cruz time to speak under the condition that the U.S. Senate would resume its regular business by noon Wednesday.
"I recognize the passion of the senator from Illinois," Cruz added, "but I have not yielded the floor."
That’s when Reid appeared on the floor. The Nevada senator repeatedly asked Cruz if he’d be willing to yield his remaining time to allow Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) a chance to speak.
Cruz responded by asking if the Senate would allow him more time to speak after the noon mark -- but it appears Reid wasn’t paying very close attention.
“Is there a consent that I --,” he began, “Sorry, I just head a lot of…”
Cruz clarified that he would not yield the floor, because time was running short, but added that if the majority leader wanted to ask a question he was more than welcome to do so.
“I’m without a question,” Reid said.
Cruz repeated that he only had about 30 minutes left to speak and politely denied Reid’s request to allow McCain time to speak:
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