The Senate voted 79–19 to end debate on the House-passed continuing resolution, setting up a vote later today to remove the provision to defund Obamacare. The result was in line with what sources had been telling me would happen. One source who opposed cloture said that “anything north of twelve” would be a huge victory for the defund campaign, and “will make the next fight that much easier.”
The Republicans voting against cloture were: Senators Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jim Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and David Vitter (La.). Senator Jeff Flake (Ariz.) missed the vote to attend his son’s wedding, but had announced his intention to vote against cloture.
“Today, far too many Republicans joined Harry Reid in giving the Democrats the ability to fund Obamacare,” Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said in a statement following the vote. ”We are stronger when we are united, and we can defeat Obamacare only if Senate Republicans come together, stand with House Republicans, and champion the millions of Americans being harmed by this disastrous health-care law.”
Republicans were sharply divided in terms of the significance of the vote. One aide described it as ”the new TARP” that would galvanize the conservative base. “There are people sitting on their couches today who will run for Senate because of this vote,” the aide said.
Another GOP source argued that many of the Republicans who opposed cloture did so “not because they support Ted Cruz or the overall strategy, but at this point it’s a no-brainer procedural vote . . . that will quickly be forgotten.”