By Paul Kane and Ed O’Keefe, Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 11:26 AM
The Senate moved Wednesday to take up a House-passed temporary spending bill that defunds President Obama’s health-care law, despite Sen. Ted Cruz’s more than 21-hour attempt to delay the legislation.
Shortly after 1 p.m., the funding bill passed its first procedural hurdle in the Senate, which voted unanimously to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed on the House’s continuing resolution. The Senate now is scheduled to hold up to 30 hours of debate on the funding bill.
The development came after Cruz (R-Tex.) ended his marathon talking attack on the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law more than three years ago, at noon Wednesday when he ran into a deadline imposed by Senate rules, allowing the body to take up the funding bill aimed at averting a looming government shutdown.
The Senate then essentially choked off the first filibuster hurdle on its own version of the funding bill, marking the first step toward allowing Democrats to include funding for the health-care law that had previously been stripped out by the House.
But Cruz’s feat of stamina, which lasted 21 hours and 19 minutes, threatened to complicate House GOP efforts to pass the funding bill after the Senate modifies the House version.
Speaking on the Senate floor after Cruz ended his talkathon, Sen. John McCain blasted the freshman senator from Texas for suggesting during his speech that Republican lawmakers had not fought hard enough to stop the health-care law before Congress passed it in March 2010. McCain also vigorously objected to Cruz’s comparison of “pundits” who say that Obamacare cannot be defunded to politicians who appeased #$%$ Germany before World War II.
“I resoundingly reject that allegation,” McCain said. He said Cruz had told him that he was not comparing U.S. legislators to #$%$ appeasers, but McCain called that “a difference without