This Is How Senate Republicans Are Going To Get Out Of Ted Cruz's Plan To Defund Obamacare


On Monday morning, the second-ranking Republican senator signaled that he would not support Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) plan to defund the Affordable Care Act by filibustering the continuing resolution that keeps the government funded.


Sen. John Cornyn, the other Republican senator from Texas, did so in a roundabout way:

Cornyn's statement is more complicated than it looks, and a GOP source told the Washington Examiner that he will not back a plan from conservative Sens. Cruz and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to filibuster a House-passed bill that would fund the government except for Obamacare.

Senate rules will make things a little awkward for Cruz as the House-passed bill moves through the upper chamber. They make it possible for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to introduce an amendment to strip language in the House bill defunding Obamacare - after the Senate has voted to end debate on the bill.


Votes to cut off debate require 60 votes (and therefore at least six Republican votes) but the vote on the amendment and on final passage will only require a simple majority, meaning Reid can get his way with only Democratic support on those votes.

Cruz calls this approach a series of "procedural gimmicks" by Reid, but it's in keeping with normal Senate rules. A Republican filibuster would have to come before Democrats introduce an amendment to strip the language in the House-passed bill that defunds Obamacare.

So, somewhat ironically, Cruz has signaled plans to filibuster the House-passed bill that includes language to fund Obamacare.

In his statement, Cornyn is saying that he will support the House bill that defunds Obamacare, but he hints that he will not go along with a plan to filibuster that same bill. That could be how other moderate GOP senators follow suit and allow a "clean" continuing resolution that doesn't defund Obamacare to pass the Senate.