WASHINGTON -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), notorious for his hours-long speech that led to the government shutdown in October, hoped to name a new target Thursday in his relentless fight to defund Obamacare.
As the Senate prepared to vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill, Cruz named the omnibus his latest victim, presenting two amendments to the budget bill to defund Obamacare shortly before the Senate voted to invoke cloture.
Without hesitation, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) objected to both of his amendments.
"The majority leader and Senate Democrats have chosen not to listen to the American people," Cruz said, yielding the floor.
According to the Washington Post's Lori Montgomery, Senate Republicans spent their lunch hour urging Cruz to leave his health care qualms aside, and allow a budget vote to proceed.
Despite Cruz's idea to derail the vote, one Republican source told The Huffington Post that Cruz could only "prevent the vote from being sped up. But he can’t block the bill." If cloture is invoked, the Senate will vote on the spending bill, free of any measures to defund Obamacare.
The Senate began a roll call vote to invoke cloture on the spending bill at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. If 60 votes are cast to invoke cloture, the Senate will immediately proceed to vote on the bill.
Today's Senate Republican luncheon and Cruz's floor speech were the first mentions of Cruz's intent to bring Obamacare into the budget vote, a publicity stunt doomed to fail from the start.
Sam Stein contributed reporting.