As Senator Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) talk-a-thon enters its eight hour, many are wondering how long the Senator from Texas has to keep talking to ensure the defunding of Obamacare.
The answer? He can't.
C-SPAN breaks it down:
That's right, Senator Cruz's "filibuster" is, in reality, a big fat nothing-burger. Cruz asked Reid's permission to speak tonight, in advance of Wednesday's vote, knowing full well that his speech could do nothing to delay the actual vote on the House-passed continuing resolution or on Reid's amendment to restore funding for "Obamacare."
Reid has already started the process to invoke cloture, a process that will come up for a vote regardless of Cruz's theatrics on Wednesday. If the cloture vote gets 60 votes in favor, any potentially real filibuster is stopped dead in its tracks and the funding bill can move to simple majority votes (including the Amendment to fund the implementation Affordable Care Act).
To invoke cloture, a senator must first find 15 additional signatories and submit a motion to the Senate. After a day, the motion is brought up for a vote: If the cloture motion wins a three-fifths majority (60 senators), then cloture is invoked. However, invoking cloture does not bring an immediate end to debate. The filibustering senator(s) are allowed 30 more hours before they have to sit down. Only then is a filibuster truly broken.
Cruz's odds of securing the 41 votes to prevent cloture and enable a real filibuster are minimal. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) have already come out stating that they will not support Cruz's efforts. The likelihood of Cruz securing sufficient support to go against GOP leadership in the Senate is nil.
Why won't Senate Republicans follow Cruz off the political cliff? That's an easy one: