“As difficult as it is to cross one’s party leaders, I say — with perhaps a little familiarity to the consequences — that it’s survivable, and ultimately it’s liberating,” Mr. Cruz said as he neared the 14th hour of his talk-a-thon, which he began at 2:41 p.m.
He read excerpts from both Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged” and from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” on the floor, carefully sipped water, and grabbed a quick snack at one point while fellow filibuster leader Sen. Mike Lee asked a 45-minute-long question, giving the Texas Republican a chance to stretch his legs, check messages on his iPhone and confer with his staff.
Mr. Cruz had vowed to keep talking until he couldn’t stand any longer.
Democrats disputed calling it a filibuster, arguing that because a vote is locked in for later Wednesday, there is a final limit on how long Mr. Cruz could speak, and therefore he wasn’t able to really block any action.
By speaking, Mr. Cruz was stalling the time and making colleagues have to wait by speaking all Tuesday afternoon.
In his remarks, he repeatedly took aim at fellow Republicans, urging them to join him in voting against limiting debate on a stopgap spending bill that also defunds Obamacare. Many Republicans said they will vote along with Democrats to proceed with the stopgap bill because as of now it contains the defunding provisions.
Mr. Cruz, though, said it is certain Democrats will be able to strip the defunding provision with a majority vote later in the process, so the only chance to exert influence is early on, when it will take a 60-vote threshold to even proceed with action.
Mr. Paul’s filibuster earlier this year, which delayed a confirmation vote on the CIA director’s nomination, lasted just over 12 hours and 50 minutes — a mark Mr. Cruz crossed just after 3:30 in the morning.