The U.S. is five days away from a potential federal government shutdown that would begin October 1st if Congress fails to pass a short term funding bill. That bill has generated plenty of drama, which played out on the Senate floor, featuring Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz. YNN's Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Geoff Bennett has the story.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Twenty-one hours and 19 minutes. That’s how long Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz seized control of the Senate floor, passionately arguing his case for defunding President Obama’s health care law.
“This is a fight for the millions of men and women who are facing a stagnant economy, who are facing jobs that are drying up or disappearing altogether,” Cruz said.
Cruz was trying to delay a Senate vote on a House passed spending bill that strips funding from Obamacare. The Democratic controlled Senate plans to remove that provision.
During his two day talkathon, which technically was not a filibuster, Cruz made references to Star Wars, actor Ashton Kutcher and even read from a Dr. Seuss book.
Cruz’s efforts, no doubt, helped boost his standing among Tea Party conservatives, but it also annoyed some of his fellow Republicans and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York accused him of taking the country hostage.
“Don’t hold the social security recipient hostage. Don’t hold the road worker hostage. Don’t hold the person who depends on inspectors who inspect or food or control our borders hostage,” Schumer said.
As Cruz left the Capitol Wednesday, he said off-camera that he felt terrific after his marathon floor speech.
"It's energizing to see the American people have an opportunity to get involved in the debate. I hope my colleagues do the right thing and listen to the American people," Cruz said.
But Wednesday afternoon, the Senate unanimously agreed to moved forward with debate on the bill. Senators are expected to send it back to the House without the provision to defund Obamacare as the clock ticks toward a possible government shutdown.