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Ted Cruz hits 20-hour mark in Senate floor speech

Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz is still delivering a long speech in the Senate over the Affordable Heathcare Act.
Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   Sept. 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM   |   Comments

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Sept. 25 (UPI) -- With just six days to go before the federal government is due to run out of money, conservative Ted Cruz began a speech on the Senate floor over President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

The speech started Tuesday at 2:40 p.m., and is still going Wednesday, 20 hours later.

Cruz is being joined by other Republicans including Sen. Mike Lee R-Utah, Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. and Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla., and has yielded to them for questions.

Cruz is still running the debate, though, with brief digressions for reading bedtime stories for his two daughters like "Green Eggs and Ham."

“I will credit my father, he invented … green eggs and ham. He did it two ways. The easy way was he would put green food coloring in … But if you take spinach and mix it into the eggs, the eggs turn green … I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am.”

Other topics ranged from Ashton Kutcher's speech at the Emmy Awards, a section of the book of Proverbs, the personal style of lawmakers to a quote from "Duck Dynasty."

But perhaps the most telling part of Cruz's speech is his indictment of his own party, calling GOP leaders out for holding "fake" and "symbolic" votes, referencing the original plan pushed by the House to defund Obamacare.

He continually insisted that anyone that does not oppose cloture for the bill -- Mitch McConnell R-Ky., and Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn R-Texas included -- are, by their action, backing full funding for the Affordable Care Act.

“Where is the outrage?” Cruz asked. In essence, he tore into his party for being a party unwilling to stand on its own principles, and sending a wide message for a rumored 2016 presidential run.

“I will stay standing here after 14 hours. Standing on your feet, there’s sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved.

"But you know what? There’s far more pain involved in rolling over … far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity.”

His marathon speech has been described as a filibuster, but it doesn't quite match that term. Cruz's speech is not really a filibuster, despite its length, because the vote to end debate and bring up the House bill will go on as scheduled.

The speech is modeled on old-fashioned filibusters, though, as Cruz has promised to speak until he is "no longer able to stand." He will not be able to break the record, as the Senate vote is set for 1 p.m. today.

The vote will set up Senate Democrats to take apart a House bill that would defund President Obama's 2010 healthcare law.

Follow @cmlee and @UPI on Twitter.
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