Why Sen. Cruz’s Filibuster isn’t a Filibuster

Sep 25 2013

As of this post, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been speaking for 20 hours.  He has held the Senate floor since 2:41pm Tuesday and has not yielded for anything but questions from colleagues.  One Senator holding the floor for hours on end, believing so passionately in an issue as to refuse to allow any business in the Senate to continue, is the stuff of Senate legend.  He has talked through all hours of the day and night, and forced to stay on his feet, or otherwise yield the floor.  This is a true test of stamina and determination, but it is no filibuster.

Cruz is technically debating the “motion to proceed” to the consideration of the continuing resolution bill that will prevent a government shutdown.  When this motion passes (and it will), the Senate will start the process of debating, amending, and finally voting on the bill itself.  But a procedural device known as “cloture” was filed when the motion to proceed was made on Monday.  The enactment of this procedure will be voted on today, at about 1pm, regardless of what other business may be occurring in the Senate.  So even if Cruz continues to holds the floor, he will be interrupted with this cloture vote, which is expected to pass.  And cloture, once enacted, essentially prevents any filibuster on the motion on which it was filed.

Because he cannot prevent this vote by holding the floor, his extended remarks today are simply that and not a filibuster.

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