Difference between revisions of "United States budget debate, 2013"

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|Name of bill=H.J. Res. 91, survivor benefits to families of deceased military service members
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|Date=October 9, 2013

Revision as of 14:08, 9 October 2013

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October 1, 2013

Beginning in August 2013, House and Senate members began discussing the possibility of a government shutdown over the funding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On September 20, Republicans passed a spending bill in the House that funds the government until December, but strips funding from Obamacare. When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that the Senate would hold a procedural vote on Wednesday, September 24, many senators began to announce their positions on voting against a cloture, the motion to end debate on a bill. After Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) gave a marathon speech, the motion for cloture was accepted and Reid was able to strip the Obamacare defunding language contained in the Republican House members' continuing resolution (CR).

Following the successful cloture vote and the Senate subsequently sending a clean continuing resolution back to the House, the two chambers began a high-stakes game of hot potato. By September 30, the House had voted and sent three resolutions to the Senate that all were struck down. The Senate then sent back a clean resolution stripped of any healthcare defunding language. With Obamacare being the issue-at-hand, Congress was unable to agree on whether a resolution would fund the landmark healthcare law.[1]

In the midst of the government shutdown in October 2013, talks began regarding the impending debt ceiling.[2][3]

Congressional timeline

September 20, 2013: House Republicans passed a stopgap budget bill to fund the government through December 15, 2013. The bill strips all funding for the Affordable Care Act.
The single Republican dissenting vote was Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-03). In a statement, Rigell stated his reason for breaking with the party, "This CR fails to address the sequester that is negatively impacting those who wear our nation’s uniform and is the result of Congress’ inability to pass the 12 appropriations bills necessary to properly fund the government on time. What is needed is a comprehensive solution to our nation’s fiscal challenges, including a replacement for sequestration."

The two Democrats who joined with Republicans to pass the continuing resolution were Reps. Jim Matheson (UT-04) and Mike McIntyre (NC-07). Both Matheson and McIntyre were elected by margins of victory of less than one percent in 2012 in conservative districts which overwhelming voted for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

House continuing appropriations resolution, September 20, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 2 188 190
Republican Party Republicans 228 1 229
Total Votes 230 189 419

September 23, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both said there will be no hold-ups on the debt ceiling bill. Reid said there will be no filibuster and McConnell said he would not support efforts to block a vote on the bill. McConnell explained, "I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded. And none of us want that." Instead, McConnell is pushing for a vote to end debate on the bill, thus leaving the defunding language in the bill. Reid reiterated that regardless of what happens, a vote will be held on Wednesday September 25, 2013.[5]

September 24, 2013: Beginning mid afternoon, Sen. Ted Cruz began a filibuster. Cruz stated that he would continuing speaking "until I am no longer able to stand."[6]

September 25, 2013: After Cruz's 21 hour and 19 minute speech, the Senate unanimously approved the cloture on the motion to proceed on the CR. The bipartisan support of the motion confirmed that the Senate was ready to move forward with debate on the CR and any possible amendments Sen. Harry Reid may add.[7]

Cloture on the motion to proceed, September 25, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 52 0 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 100 0 100

September 27, 2013: The Senate took a series of votes, stripping the Obamacare defunding language and changing the expiration date on the legislation to November 15. The bill now returns to the House, giving Speaker John Boehner the next move.[9]

Senate continuing appropriations resolution, September 27, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 52 0 52
Republican Party Republicans 0 44 44
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 54 44 98

September 28, 2013: Members of the House GOP released a joint statement saying, “The American people don’t want a government shut down and they don’t want ObamaCare. That’s why later today, the House will vote on two amendments to the Senate-passed continuing resolution that will keep the government open and stop as much of the president’s health care law as possible. The first amendment delays the president’s health care law by one year. And the second permanently repeals ObamaCare’s medical device tax that is sending jobs overseas. Both of these amendments will change the date of the Senate CR to December 15th. We will also vote on a measure that ensures our troops get paid, no matter what. We will do our job and send this bill over, and then it’s up to the Senate to pass it and stop a government shutdown.”[12]

Amendment #1, that delays the healthcare law by one year, passed 248-174 and Amendment #2, that permanently repeals the medical device tax, passed 231-192.[13] The House also approved a measure 423-0 that would continue to pay the military in the event of a government shutdown.[14]

House continuing appropriations resolution, Amendment #1, September 28, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 17 174 191
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 248 174 422
House continuing appropriations resolution, Amendment #2, September 28, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 2 190 192
Republican Party Republicans 229 2 231
Total Votes 231 192 423

September 29, 2013: As a government shutdown is looking more and more likely, congressional members need not worry about bringing home a paycheck. Congressional members will still be paid because they are funded by mandatory spending. The Senate declined to meet on Sunday to discuss the latest House CR.[17]

September 30, 2013: President Obama reiterated that he would not sign a spending bill that tampers with the implementation of Obamacare. The Senate rejected all House amendments to the CR, including the provision to delay Obamacare.

Senate vote on House amendments, September 30, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 0 52 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 0 2 2
Total Votes 46 54 100

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun discussions on a possible one-week continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for seven days while discussion would continue.[20]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to avoid a government shutdown, saying, "With the U.S. economy continuing to underperform, the federal government needs to maintain its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms. It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy."[21]

In the late afternoon, President Obama compared the GOP's handling of the CR to "extracting ransom." He stated, "You do not get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyways, or because there’s a law there that you don’t like.[22]
On Monday evening, the House passed a stopgap spending bill that included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. It would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff.

House continuing appropriations resolution, individual mandate amendment, September 30, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 9 189 198
Republican Party Republicans 219 12 231
Total Votes 228 201 429

Shortly after the House passed this latest version of the CR, the Senate voted straight along party lines to reject the bill and send it back to the House.

Senate vote on House amendments (2nd vote of the day), September 30, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 0 52 52
Republican Party Republicans 46 0 46
Independent Independents 0 2 2
Total Votes 46 54 100

With just under 90 minutes left before the government shutdown, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) announced that the House would seek a conference with the Senate on a continuing resolution. After the motion to go to conference was approved by the House Rules Committee, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) spoke out against the decision.[7]

October 1, 2013: At 1 a.m., one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[24]

October 1, 2013: House Republican leaders say they are going to try and pass a series of smaller bills to reopen the government. The bills would fund some of the agencies that currently are under shutdown. No timetable has been released as of yet.[25] President Obama said he will veto these smaller bills. According to a statement released by White House spokeswoman, Amy Brundage, "These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government. If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shutdown -- which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors -- they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government."[26]

October 1, 2013: Paul Ryan spoke to the press with other House leaders and suggested an agreement to end the shutdown could be tied in with the debt ceiling, which hits its limit on October 17, 2013. He said, "We have a debt limit coming. Most budget agreements in the past have always involved debt limit increases. We think that's the forcing mechanism, just like the Budget Control Act that President Obama signed before." He added, "That's what we think we need. A forcing action to bring two parties together."[27]

October 1, 2013: Three of the smaller bills proposed to fund some government agencies failed on Tuesday. The first bill would have funded veteran affairs, the second bill would have funded national parks and the third bill would have funded other Washington D.C. agencies, including the National Institutes of Health. Even if the bills had passed the House, the Senate said they would not pass them and President Obama vowed to veto them.[28]

Note: Each bill needed a 2/3 majority to pass.
House funding for veterans affairs, October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 33 164 197
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 264 164 428
House funding for national parks, October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 22 175 197
Republican Party Republicans 230 1 231
Total Votes 252 176 428
House funding for Washington D.C., October 1, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 34 163 197
Republican Party Republicans 231 0 231
Total Votes 265 163 428

October 2, 2013: Congressional leaders met with President Obama on Wednesday. Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were all invited.[32]

October 3, 2013: The Capitol was shutdown for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon. Shots were fired outside the United States Capitol building where at least one officer was injured and the suspect, a female, was shot. The Capitol immediately went into lockdown and everyone inside was told to shelter in place. The scene was cleared within the hour, and the building reopened.[33] Below is a tweet from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who was among the first to break the news:

Mccaskill tweet.JPG

October 5, 2013: The House unanimously approved legislation, with a vote of 407-0, to provide retroactive pay for 800,000 furloughed federal workers after the government shutdown ends.[35] Although many believe the Senate will pass the retroactive pay legislation in the coming days, Sen. Harry Reid quickly addressed the House vote after its passage on Saturday. Reid stated, "Now we're saying to federal employees: We're going to pay you when this is all over with. But right now, you just stay home … watch TV, play chess, whatever you’re going to do, because we won't let you work."[36]

October 7, 2013: A bipartisan House measure to repeal the 2.3% medical device excise tax that helps fund the healthcare reform law has been rumored as compromise to end the shutdown.[37][38]

Sponsored by Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), the proposal reportedly would fund the government at the sequester cut levels for six months, repeal the device tax and offset the nearly $30 billion revenue loss over 10 years by changing employer pension rules.[38]

Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate say they oppose the measure because they are not willing to negotiate reform law provisions as part of the current spending fight and because it would extend the sequester cuts for six months rather than the shorter period they seek.[38][37]

A spokesperson for Kind said the Democrats are not committed to a device tax repeal though it is not off the table. “There are a lot of proposals, the medical device issue being just one of them. It's a fluid situation. Going forward, I hope that there's a lot more to discuss, a lot more ideas, a lot more thoughts.”[37][38]

October 9, 2013: President Barack Obama invited Democratic House leaders to the White House for a meeting to discuss the shutdown and the debt ceiling.[39]

The House voted unanimously to approve H.J. Res. 91, to resume paying survivor benefits to the families of slain troops. The benefits, which include a $100,000 payment, had been suspended because of the government shutdown.[40][41]

House vote on survivor benefits to families of deceased military service members, October 9, 2013
Party Votes for bill Votes against bill Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 197 0 197
Republican Party Republicans 228 0 228
Total Votes 425 0 425

That same day, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation beginning in November 2013.[43]

Checklist to avoid government shutdown

Note: The Senate may be able to push timeline up by holding votes before each deadline.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yes check.svg
A vote on cloture on the motion to proceed was held in the Senate.

Yes check.svg
The body voted on the motion to proceed. This allowed the Senate to continue with the vote on the House's continuing resolution (CR). At this point, Sen. Harry Reid filed an amendment to strip the House CR of the defunding Obamacare language. A cloture on the resolution was also filed by Reid to end debate.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yes check.svg
This was a day of debate on the Senate version of the CR, including new amendments.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Yes check.svg
Requiring 60 votes, a cloture motion was approved to end debate on the resolution.

Yes check.svg
Two votes were held on Friday. The first was to approve amendments. The second, and final, was the passage of the CR. The CR passed through the Senate by a 54-44 vote.

Monday, September 30, 2013

X mark.gif
The Senate was adjourned until 2 p.m. on Monday. As of 10 p.m. Monday night, the Senate had rejected two versions of a House resolution.

If they do not come to an agreement by 11:59 on September 30, a government shutdown begins. It will last until Congress passes a bill to fund the government that the White House will sign.[44]

House of Representatives

September 28, 2013

Yes check.svg
Members of the House GOP emerged from a closed door meeting early Saturday and announced in a joint statement plans for several changes to the Senate-passed bill. The changes include a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of a medical device tax to pay for the law before approving any funds to keep the government running.[45] The revised bill, which must pass through the Senate with no changes by 11:59 on September 30, or a government shutdown begins, stands virtually no chance of clearing the Senate or gaining presidential approval.[46][47]

September 30, 2013

X mark.gif
After the Senate rejected the House amendments on September 30, the body planned to convene Monday afternoon to discuss possible next step. Many, including Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), discussed a possible stopgap measure that would fund the government for a week.[48] After passing a third CR that would delay the healthcare implementation and strip lawmaker and staff healthcare subsidies, the House voted late Monday to seek a conference with the Senate.
What amendments could the House still seek in the coming days?
  • Repeal of the medical-device tax: The implementation of Obamacare would bring a 2.3% tax on medical devices (such as defibrillators and implants). There is a strong possibility the Senate would agree to trash the tax, as it is unpopular in both parties.
  • Defund the Independent Payment Advisory Board: Known by Republicans as the "death panel," it could be struck down in a House amendment.
  • End health-insurance subsidies for lawmakers and staff: Many House Republicans have been calling for an end to an exemption that would allow federal lawmakers the option to opt-out of Obamacare. However, this remains an unpopular idea with Democrats and many Republicans.

The House included this in the Monday evening CR that was quickly rejected by the Senate.[22]

  • Pass the Senate's bill: Many Republicans are eager to avoid a government shutdown. Two dozen House Republicans would need to vote for the Senate's bill to pass a CR that funds Obamacare to keep the government open.[48]


X mark.gif
The government is currently experiencing a shutdown.
Around 800,000 federal workers are furloughed.[49] The shutdown is costing the country approximately $150 million a day.[50]


What is affected?[51][52][53]

  • National parks, landmarks, museums, fountains and zoos are closed.
  • Some food assistance programs are unfunded and therefore may run out of money. WIC (Women, Children and Infants) is administered by the states and some states have run out of money. Utah is turning away new applicants and the USDA is using emergency funds to try and prop up the program in Arkansas and other states.[54]
  • National Institute of Health will not accept new patients.
  • IRS is shut down, including their toll-free help lines, however Americans still have to pay taxes and file returns.
  • Federal House Administration won't approve or underwrite any new loans.
  • Many routine safety inspections are shut down, including OSHA and some FDA inspections.
  • After 10 business days, federal courts will furlough many employees, but still hear cases.
  • Contractual payments for farmers who participate in the milk income loss program or land conservation program will likely be delayed.
  • Veterans Board of Appeals is shut down.
  • Half of the civilians working in the Defense Department are furloughed.
  • Federal Election Commission is shut down and will not process campaign finance data or new candidate registrations.[55]
  • Center for Disease Control is almost entirely shutdown.[56]

What is not affected?[51]

  • Most Homeland Security officials are considered essential.
  • Passport services and green cards are still being issued.
  • Mail is still being delivered.
  • Prisons are operating as normal.
  • Food stamps and school meals are still being distributed.
  • Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits are still being distributed.
  • Air traffic controllers and airport security operate as normal.

Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act

Barbara Boxer (D-CA) announced on October 1, 2013, a proposal to stop pay for members of Congress during a shutdown.[57]

The bill, called the “Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act,” would prevent members of Congress and the president from receiving pay if “(1) there is more than a 24-hour lapse in appropriations for any federal agency or department as a result of a failure to enact a regular appropriations bill or continuing resolution, or (2) the federal government is unable to make payments or meet obligations because the public debt limit has been reached.”[57]

The following is a list of congressional members who have stated they will not collect their paychecks or will donate the money to charity during the time the government is in shutdown:

Disability compensation for veterans

On October 9, 2013, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki warned lawmakers that the partial government shutdown means that about 3.8 million veterans will not receive disability compensation beginning in November 2013.[43]

Shinseki, in testimony before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said pensions to more than half a million veterans or surviving spouses will also be derailed if the stalemate over a temporary spending measure continues through October.[43]

WWII Memorial

A group of World War II veterans, associated with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, wanting to pay their respects at the WWII Memorial were met with signs and barriers upon their arrival. They refused to let their trip be affected by the government shutdown and made their way through the barriers. Many congressional members from both parties spoke their approval of the move, including Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was in attendance. Rep. Steve King and Rep. Steve Palazzo aided the veterans by distracting park police and helping move the gates.[61]

Other national landmarks, monuments and fountains are also closed for the duration of the shutdown.[62] In Washington, DC alone, the National Park Service put up barricades around monuments and memorials and turned off its 45 fountains after the federal government shutdown began on October 1, 2013.[62]

Congressional offices running on limited resources

Due to the government shut down, most congressional offices are operating with limited staffs, often with members of Congress answering their own phones or suspending all correspondence and social media posting until the shutdown ends.[63] Congressional rules for operations during a shutdown say members may retain staff essential for activities related to legislation and protecting lives or property.[64]

D.C. Mayor could be arrested

During the shutdown the District of Columbia, technically under the authority of Congress, in theory must shut down along with the federal government. D.C. Mayor Vince Gray has declared that all city personnel are “essential” and that he will keep city services running by tapping a special reserve fund.[65]

“Unless somebody takes me out in handcuffs, I’m not shutting down anything,” Gray said.[65]

D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan told city lawmakers that there is a remote possibility that the mayor, the council and other city employees could be fined or imprisoned for defying the shutdown. Reports also circulated about the possibility that the city could also lose the right to elect its own government.[65]

Jobs report possibly unavailable

A Labor Department official announced on October 1, 2013, that there likely would not be enough staffers on site to compile the jobs report, though the report could still be produced if is directed to do so by the Office of Management and Budget.[65]

Closing of congressional gym

Bill Foster (D-IL) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) want the congressional gym closed until the shutdown impasse is over, and circulated a letter that would ask House Speaker John Boehner to deem the House spa non-essential for the duration of the shutdown.[66]

“Members of Congress should not enjoy access to their exclusive gym and spa while Capitol police go without pay, children are being turned away from Head Start and veterans are left wondering if their benefits will come in the mail on November 1st,” said Foster in a statement.[66]

“Despite Speaker Boehner’s refusal to reopen the government by bringing a clean CR to the House floor, he believes members of Congress should still receive congressional perks,” the two Democrats wrote to colleagues on October 9, 2013. “He has deemed the congressional spa used by Members of the House of Representatives to be ‘essential’ during the shutdown...Not only are members still able to access the taxpayer-funded gym, sauna and steam room while tens of thousands of federal employees remain furloughed, janitorial staff are still required to clean the gym and restock it with towels and other ‘essential items,’” Murphy and Foster said in the letter.[66]

The two members have to introduce the Shutdown Prioritization Act, or the SPA Act, that would prohibit the Architect of the Capitol from keeping the congressional gym open.[66]

Eva Malecki, a communications officer for the Architect of the Capitol, said: “When Members join the gym they are given key fobs that permit them to access the facility. The decision not to lock Members out was made because they keep personal items there, but Members have been made aware that the facility will be unstaffed until the government reopens, as its employees are paid with appropriated funds, which are unavailable during the shutdown.”[66]

Many members sleep in their offices when Congress is in session and use the House gym to shower rather than obtaining a Washington D.C. apartment.[66]


Congressional approval rating
Poll Total approve Total disapproveMargin of ErrorSample Size
The Economist/YouGov (September 21-23, 2013)
CBS/New York Times (September 19-23, 2013)
CNN/ORC (September 27-29, 2013)
Gallup (October 3-6, 2013)
AVERAGES 11% 81% +/-3.9 883.75
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Ted Cruz's stand

Although many are referring to it as a filibuster, others argue that Cruz's marathon speech is not technically classified as such due to Senate procedural rules.[67] Senate procedure dictates that Cruz would have to yield the floor by Wednesday afternoon.[68]
Ted Cruz
Beginning at 2:41 p.m. ET on September 24, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the Senate floor to begin speaking until he's "no longer able to stand." By doing this, Cruz intended a symbolic stand against allowing a 'motion to proceed' vote needed to continue the vote on the House-passed stopgap budget bill, which stripped funding for Obamacare.

Ted Cruz's speech on the floor of the Senate on September 24-25, 2013

Cruz believes that an affirmative vote would allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to remove the Obamacare language and would "cut off debate on a bill without even knowing what's in it." However, many Republicans have echoed a similar concern to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who stated, "We'd all be hard-pressed to explain why we were opposed to a bill we were in favor of. It strikes me as a no-brainer."[69]

If the 'motion to proceed' passes on Wednesday, a cloture vote will follow on either Friday or Saturday. If the cloture receives the required 60 votes, Reid will then be able to introduce an amendment on Sunday to the original House resolution which would remove the threat of defunding Obamacare.[70] Cruz's speech may force debate on the measure to continue through the weekend, leaving the House very little time to pass a new spending bill by the October 1 deadline.[68]


During the filibuster, the following Republican senators stood with Cruz:

Democrats in attendance

Dick Durbin

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) questioned Sen. Cruz on whether or not Cruz wanted to shutdown the government. When Cruz responded that a government shutdown was not his intention, Durbin followed by questioning Cruz's ability to count to 60, the number of votes needed to defund Obamacare. Cruz argued that there are enough senators up for re-election in 2014 from states where constituents believe Obamacare is a "trainwreck." Cruz continued, "We will start with Democrats from red states." Durbin and Cruz then discussed the merits of Obamacare in response to different scenarios Durbin presented, including a maid who is now able to qualify for medicare and a patient with a preexisting condition.[7]

Tim Kaine

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) continued a similar line of questioning as Durbin's, furthering a basic debate on the merits of the Affordable Care Act with Sen. Cruz.[7]

Ted Cruz reads Green Eggs and Ham

Presiding senators

Both Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) did not participate, but were in attendance during Cruz's speech as junior senators are historically tasked with presiding over the chamber.[68]

Green Eggs and Ham

While Cruz spent most of his speech discussing the topic at hand, Obamacare, when his daughters' normal bedtime approached, Cruz gave a dramatic reading of Dr. Suess' "Green Eggs and Ham."

Cruz breaks 113th Congress record

In March 2013, Sen. Rand Paul filibustered John Brennan's CIA nomination for 12 hours and 52 minutes. Sen. Cruz surpassed this previous record for the longest speech in the 113th Congress at around 3:33 a.m. on September 25.[71]

Unanimous consent requests

With approximately 30 minutes left in Cruz's allowed time, he requested three unanimous consent requests of Sen. Harry Reid:

1. Cruz asked the Senate to agree by unanimous consent to forgo the cloture vote, and therefore allow post-cloture debate on the motion to proceed.
2. Cruz asked unanimous consent to move the cloture vote on the CR itself to Friday. His reasoning for this was to give visibility to the vote, instead of holding it on a Saturday when the public would not be watching.
3. Cruz asked that Sen. Reid consent to extending his time to speak until he is no longer able to stand, as Cruz initially stated he would do.[7]

Instead of agreeing to consents, Sen. Reid proceeded to ask questions of Cruz on whether or not he would allow Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to speak at a future time. The question was not relevant as Senate rules dictated that Cruz would not be speaking at the time Reid mentioned, due to the start of a new legislative day.[7]

Reid ultimately did not approve any of the consents. When Cruz finished his speech, Reid rebuffed Cruz for "wasting time," yet did not agree to move up the cloture vote.[7]

Cruz finishes

At noon on September 25, after over 21 hours, Sen. Ted Cruz finished his speech and the Senate transitioned into the daily prayer.[7]


In spite of his stand, Cruz voted in favor of the issue.[72]

U.S. Senate

Remarks on Obamacare funding in the continuing resolution


September 20, 2013: Senator Ted Cruz called for Republican senators to effectively filibuster the continuing resolution which passed the House in September 2013. He said, "Step two is the Senate, where all accounts suggest Harry Reid plans to use procedural gimmicks to try to add funding back in for Obamacare. If Reid pursues this plan — if he insists on using a 50-vote threshold to fund Obamacare with a partisan vote of only Democrats — then I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in." He went on, "Now is a time for party unity; Senate Republicans should stand side-by-side with courageous House Republicans."[73]
September 22, 2013: Lee assured that the filibuster would not actually lead to a government shutdown. He said on "Meet the Press", "No. We all know that the government is going to be funded. The questions is whether it will be funded with Obamacare or without."[74]
September 23, 2013: Graham told Fox News the following about the Affordable Care Act: "This bill sucks, it really does." Graham also predicted that the Senate would strip the ACA defunding from the debt ceiling bill and that the bill would pass preventing a shutdown.[75] He added later, "I wanna defund Obamacare. I just don't wanna cut off Social Security checks and stop paying the military."[76]
September 23, 2013: Cornyn announced his opposition to the potential filibuster in the Senate, despite the possibility that opposing fellow Texas Senator Ted Cruz could lead to a 2014 primary challenge for him. Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said about the bill, "Senator Cornyn will support the House bill that defunds Obamacare. He will not block a bill that defunds Obamacare."[77]
September 24, 2013: McConnell responded to Ted Cruz's filibuster threat by stating, "I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare." [78]
September 24, 2013: Hatch disagreed with his colleague, Mike Lee on Lee's belief that there is enough grassroots support to warrant Cruz's speech. Hatch told reporters: "There’s a lot of people upset on both sides, and I just don’t believe anybody benefits from shutting the government down, and certainly Republicans don’t. We learned that in 1995."[68]
September 27, 2013: After the Senate voted to send the bill back to the House, Coburn said, “The only time you shut down the government is when you shut it down and refuse to open it until you accomplish what you want. We’ll fold like hotcakes. You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot, and we will not for sure shoot this hostage.”


September 25, 2013: With the possibility of the House passing a version of the CR with a clause delaying the individual mandate portion of Obamacare, Machin said, "There’s no way I could not vote for it. It’s very reasonable and sensible."[79]
September 26, 2013: In regards to the possibility of a government shutdown, Durbin said,“If the House decides over the weekend come Friday, Saturday, whatever it is, that they’re going to give us a new bill to consider in the Senate: That is a concession on their part that we are going to shut down the government. A clean CR is the only way to meet this deadline."[80]
September 26, 2013: “I’m not going to speculate on what they are going to do. We have all made it very clear: We’ll have a clean CR. Right now, they do not know what they are going to do. They’re throwing all this mud to see what sticks on the wall.”[80]
September 28, 2013: "Today’s vote by House Republicans is pointless. To be absolutely clear, the Senate will reject both the one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of the medical device tax."[81]
September 27, 2013 "Since they can't get their way they're going to create this confusion and discourse and hope that the public will be so mixed up in who is to blame for this, that they'll blame both sides...It's dangerous. It's very dangerous. I believe, Mr. President, we are at one of the most dangerous points in our history right now. Every bit as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War."[82]
September 28, 2013: "By pandering to the Tea Party minority and trying to delay the benefits of health care reform for millions of seniors and families, House Republicans are now actively pushing for a completely unnecessary government shutdown."[83]
September 30, 2013: "The question is, does Speaker [John] Boehner need to engage in something like the ancient practice of sacrifice, this time to the right-wing gods? Do we have to sacrifice the economy and help for millions of middle class people?"[84]

U.S. House

Remarks on Obamacare funding in the continuing resolution


September 27, 2013: "We've provided a solution to keep the government open and heed the concerns of our constituents to protect them from the harmful effects" of the Affordable Care Act.[85] "There are many different options and a lot of different strategies and ideas out there," he said. "I think what you'll see is one that reaches good consensus in the House ... and gives the Senate another opportunity to do the right thing for their constituents."[85]
September 28, 2013: “We’ve had enough of the disunity in our party. The headlines are Republicans fighting Republicans. This will unite us. This protects the people who sent us here from Obamacare.”[86]
September 28, 2013: "I think conservatives are winning. Stop Obamacare and not stop the government is what we're hearing from folks at home, so I think leadership's listened."[83]
September 30, 2013: Nunes expressed his displeasure with what he sees as the Republican party's willingness to shutdown the government over Obamacare. He called House Republicans "lemmings with suicide vests," and continued, "You guys ever watch 16 Candles? You guys remember Long Duk Dong at the end? That’s going to be us tomorrow, waking up on the grass, crashed automobile. That’s us."[22]
October 1, 2013: Harris blamed the Senate and President Barack Obama for the shutdown. “While the House waits for the Senate and president to agree to start the negotiations necessary to end the partial shutdown, the House will continue to attempt to end the special treatment of big businesses and members of Congress and their staff under Obamacare.”[51]
October 7, 2013: In response to a man encouraging him to support a clean CR, Sessions remarked, "Look, we're not French. We don't surrender."[87]


September 20, 2013: Matheson was one of two Democrats that voted to defund Obamacare in September 2013. Matheson said, "It is irresponsible to add unrelated provisions to legislation to keep our government running. I have always preferred straightforward legislating that avoids political games. However, I believe we should avoid shutting down the government, and I voted for a continuing resolution to keep the legislative process working toward that end today."[88]
September 20, 2013: McIntyre said, "Among many other crucial services, it is essential that we honor our senior citizens, veterans, and men and women in uniform by ensuring there is no delay in their monthly retirement checks, health care coverage, or military benefits. Keeping our government operational is vital and today’s vote does that."[88]
September 20, 2013: Moran gave an impassioned speech prior to the vote. He said, "I used to be really proud of this institution. I used to be able to go through my community and, many of those who have served as long as I have, know what it was like to be proud to be a member of Congress.” He added, "We know what the government can do. This bill doesn’t allow the government to do what it can to improve the lives of our people. We need to believe in this government again. We need to do what this Congress is meant to do!"[89]
September 24, 2013: Pelosi, House minority leader, referred to those calling for a shutdown over Obamacare "legislative arsonists." She continued: "They're there to burn down what we should be building up in terms of investments and education and scientific research, and all that it is that makes our country great and competitive."[90]
October 1, 2013: “Today, due to the irresponsible tactics of House Republicans, the federal government has shut down for the first time in 17 years. Let’s be clear: This shutdown is not about the Affordable Care Act. It’s about a faction of the Republican Party putting their extremist ideology ahead of the best interests of the American people. The shutdown will be devastating to our country’s fragile economic recovery. Millions of Americans will be left in limbo – federal employees who will be furloughed, veterans who will see their disability payments disrupted and small business owners whose loan applications will be delayed. These are the very real consequences of partisan game playing. We cannot and should not govern by ultimatum. Congress owes it to the American people to immediately pass a bi-partisan spending plan to re-open the government.”[91]

Debt ceiling

The U.S. is slated to run out of the ability to borrow money on October 17, 2013.[2] The current debt limit is $16.7 trillion dollars. The U.S. technically exceeded that number in May 2013, but the Treasury Department has since used various measures to continue borrowing.[92] If the limit is not raised, the government will have to withhold payments like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid checks.[2][3] It would also jeopardize the flow of credit around the world.[2]

Congressional timeline

October 8, 2013 : Democrats in the Senate started work on a bill that would just raise the debt ceiling and not change any other policy. The measure is expected to provide enough borrowing flexibility to last beyond the 2014 elections, permitting $1 trillion or more in new borrowing above the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.[3] The Senate proposal is also not expected to include new spending cuts sought by Republicans.[3]

In order to pass the proposal, they would need bipartisan support, requiring all Democrats and at least 6 Republicans voting in favor. Because of procedural rules that govern the Senate, the votes might not start until October 10-11, 2013.[2]

See also

Ballotpedia News

External links


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