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Senator filibusters Obamacare
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - We are following breaking news in the Senate as Senator Ted Cruz has been speaking for more than 16 hours, blasting Obamacare.
He started talking at 2:00 Tuesday afternoon. Cruz has done everything he can to stay on the Senate floor.
He's read his kids a bed time story, he's quoted Saturday Night Live, he has told stories about his family, Duck Dynasty and talked about fast food.
He says he will talk until he can no longer stand.
The Texas senator is trying to delay a vote on a bill to fund the government for the next year because he knows democrats will strip it of a measure that also defunds the Affordable Care Act.
He's using the filibuster to delay the vote.
Through the night there were only three other senators in the chamber with him. That number is growing, with eight republicans and two democrats there at 6:00 a.m.
Cruz has gotten brief breaks through the night, taking questions from fellow Tea Party members and reading emails.
Cruz is calling the health care act a job killer that's expensive and bad for business.
Meanwhile, democrats say despite Cruz's efforts, there is no way the bill will get out of Senate the way it is written.
President Obama says in many states the health care overhaul would save consumers thousands.
"The Senate will not pass any bill that delays of defunds Obamacare," said Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"It turns out that their rates are up to 50% lower than what was available if you just went on the open market and tried to buy health insurance," said President Obama.
Despite Cruz's efforts, republicans still lack the votes to stop democrats from moving ahead with a measure to strip the health care provision from the spending bill and send it back to the house.
A vote will likely happen Wednesday.
And if you were wondering, the longest filibuster ever was by Senator Strom Thurmond in 1957. It lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes.
Cruz has now been speaking for more than 16 hours.
This filibuster got us wondering what are the rules of a filibuster. Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose.
At the national level, they do not need to talk solely about the topic they are fighting against.
For instance, in 1992 Senator Alfonse D'Amato from New York read the phone book out loud.
There are no breaks. You must remain on the Senate floor.
As for ending a filibuster, aside from passing out, it would take 60 dully sworn in senators to vote to end it based upon the Cloture Rule
We will continue to follow this filibuster until one or the other happens.