The Senate on Friday passed its version of a bill to keep the government funded and avert a government shutdown, the latest move in legislative ping-pong between the two chambers of Congress.
The Senate's continuing resolution funds the government through Nov. 15, and it strips language in a House of Representatives "CR" to defund the Affordable Care Act. The final vote passed in a 54-44 vote.
The Senate held a series of final votes on the bill Friday afternoon. In its first vote shortly after 12:30 p.m., the Senate invoked cloture on the bill, ending debate by an overwhelming 79-19 vote. That allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring up an amendment stripping language that defunds the Affordable Care Act for a majority vote. That amendment passed around 1:30, in a 54-44, party-line vote.
The initial cloture vote was a big defeat for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the leader of the "defund Obamacare" effort, who had spent most of the week trying unsuccessfully to convince Republican senators to vote against cloture.
In a statement, Cruz blasted Reid and "Senate Democrats" for "not listening to the people." He also emphasized his call for the House to hold firm on Obamacare defunding.
"The House showed remarkable courage voting to defund Obamacare, and I hope and believe that the House will stand by their resolve and continue to lead the effort to stop the Obamacare train wreck," Cruz said.
The House passed its version of the continuing resolution a week ago Friday, which included language to defund the Affordable Care Act. Much of the debate this week in the Senate has revolved around Cruz, the leader of the "defund Obamacare" effort, his 21-hour talk-a-thon on Tuesday/Wednesday, and his pleas to get Republican senators to back his effort.
Instead, his strategy has caused GOP divisions, and it looks extremely unlikely that he'll get the necessary votes to block Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from passing an amendment that strips the House's "defund" language. On Thursday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) laid into Cruz on the Senate floor when Cruz objected to moving the Senate vote up.
Senate passage won't avert a government shutdown — yet. House Speaker John Boehner said it is unlikely he'll move the Senate's bill through the House without amending it, setting up more ping-pong.
Here's the schedule of the votes Friday:
- Cloture on H.J.Res. 59, the continuing resolution — This is the key vote that Cruz wants Republican senators to oppose. It ends debate on the bill, and allows Reid to bring up an amendment to strip the "defunding" language. Update: Cloture has been invoked.
- Motion to waive budget point of order — a procedural vote.
- Reid amendment No. 1974, perfecting substitute — the amendment that strips from the bill the House's language to defund Obamacare. Majority vote needed for passage. Update: This passed by a 54-44, party-line vote.
- Passage of H.J.Res.59, as amended — final passage. Update: This passed, on a 54-44 vote.
This post has been updated.
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