WASHINGTON - The Senate battle over the continuing resolution to fund the government past Oct. 1 has officially started in the Senate, and it kicked off with a Harry Reid vs. Ted Cruz showdown.
Senate Majority Leader Reid filed a motion this afternoon to proceed on the House-approved CR and vowed to take out language that would defund Obamacare, a movement backed by what Reid called "fanatics," "anarchists," and "radicals."
"We're not going to bow to tea party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law," Reid said on the Senate floor. "We will not bow to tea party anarchists who refuse to accept that the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, and we will not bow to tea party anarchists in the House or in the Senate who ignore the fact that President Obama was overwhelmingly reelected a few months ago.
"Obamacare is the law of the land and will remain the law of the land as long as Barack Obama is president of the United States and as long as I'm Senate majority leader," Reid said. "The latest gamble by Republicans in the House of Representatives made with the backing of their radical allies in the Senate only postpones the inevitable."
Following his speech, Reid asked for unanimous consent for confirmation on a series of nominations, but Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, immediately objected to the consideration for those nominees.
The Senate went into a quorum call and was at a standstill while Reid and Cruz conferred on the Senate floor for several minutes.
Nearly 30 minutes later, Cruz dropped his objection.
Cruz's objection had nothing to do with the continuing resolution, but it shows that he is willing to put up a fight throughout what will be a very long week on Capitol Hill. Cruz has threatened to use every procedural move possible, including an old fashioned filibuster, if Reid will not allow for a 60-vote threshold on any amendments to the CR.
"Until Reid guarantees a 60-vote threshold on all amendments, a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare. It would amount to giving the Democrats a green light to fund Obamacare with 51 votes," Cruz wrote in an op-ed Monday.
As he left the Senate chamber, Cruz refused to comment on what procedural maneuvers he's planning on invoking this week to keep the Senate from taking out the defunding language from the CR.
Later in the afternoon, Cruz returned to the Senate floor to launch two procedural maneuvers to change the fate of the continuing resolution in the Senate.
He first asked that the Senate unanimously pass the House approved CR as is without any debate or amendments, to which Reid objected. Cruz then asked that any amendments to the CR require a 60-vote threshold, instead of 51 votes, in order to pass. Reid also objected to that request.
After each of his requests failed, Cruz tried to turn the tables on Reid, saying he was to blame for the fact that the Senate is moving towards a government shutdown.
"Five minutes ago, the Senate could have acted to prevent a government shutdown," Cruz said. "But unfortunately, the majority leader chose to object and to say no. He would rather risk a government shutdown than act to prevent it. Now why? Again the majority leader was quite candid. Because he supports the law called Obamacare."
"There is a tendency in this town towards brinksmanship," Cruz added.