Democratic women senators slammed Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) 21-hour-long speech on Wednesday, calling it a "mockery" and saying they will not negotiate with the House at all when it comes to Obamacare.
"Republicans are out of touch, out of ideas, and frankly out of their minds if they think we're going to let one woman lose out on the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said at a press conference at the Capitol. "The senate is going to pass a clean short-term spending bill while we negotiate a longer-term debt deal."
The Senate's version of the short-term spending bill strips out a provision passed by the House that would defund Obamacare. Murray and her colleagues said they would not budge at all on Obamacare during negotiations with the House.
"We're going to make sure the Affordable Care Act, which is the law of the land today, stays the law of the land tomorrow," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) "We will not let Obamacare be defunded or repealed. We will not go back to the dark ages when being a woman was considered a preexisting condition, when we women were often paying two, three, four, five times more for the cost of insurance than men of comparable age and health status."
The senators were joined by pregnant women and mothers who told stories of being denied maternity coverage and even basic, catastrophic health care coverage when they were pregnant, because their pregnancies were considered a pre-existing condition. Obamacare prevents health insurance companies from denying women health coverage or charging them more than men for it.
Cruz staged a symbolic filibuster on the Senate floor on Tuesday and Wednesday in order to delay the Senate's vote and to protest Obamacare, but the Senate is expected to hold the vote as scheduled. Mikulski called the filibuster a "mockery" and said the women senators were going to "stand with the American people" when it comes to Obamacare. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said Cruz's move "changes nothing."
"This is a stunt," Stabenow said. "It's not supported by his party, and frankly he's putting the speaker of the House in a very difficult situation by making sure what they receive back is at the last minute."
Murray added, "When it comes to reaching out to women of America, I can't imagine who in the Republican Party is actually thinking that this is a good idea."