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Ted Cruz vs. Obamacare

So far Obamacare is winning.

The fight by Republicans to defund the Affordable Care Act seems to have landed on the shoulders of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. On Friday the House of Representatives passed its budget funding bill with the requirement that the new health care law remain unfunded. So they’re telling the Democrats that the government will shut down unless Obamacare is allowed to die. No one expects the Senate, which is controlled by a Democratic majority, to pass the same measure.

In steps Cruz, in what the Washington Post called the most important week of his career so far:

Instead, the key to measuring Cruz’s success will be what approach he takes to making his opposition to Obamacare known and what (if any) impact it has. Does Cruz launch a traditional talking filibuster, a doomed but principled effort to show how strongly he opposes the measure? If he doesn’t, is he able to convince/cajole a handful of wavering Republican senators to vote against cloture? Can Cruz make enough of a stand in the Senate to stiffen the spines of House Republicans — assuming the legislation, sans defunding Obamacare, is headed their way some time in the next week?

So when the bill came to floor of the Senate this afternoon, according to Slate, Cruz first asked for unanimous approval of it. That, of course, didn’t happen. Then he asked for a rule change to require 60 votes for any amendments to the bill (which would have made it more difficult for Democrats to remove the measure to defund Obamacare.) That didn’t work.

Left with no good options, Cruz just used the rest of his time today to insist that Democrats were now responsible for a shutdown. If only they had agreed to the House CR, he said, “there would be no government shutdown. A government shutdown would be taken off the table.” He reminded Democrats that they’d agreed to 60-vote amendment thresholds during the gun debate, and that his own gun amendment would have succeeded until simple majority rules. (He did not mention that Manchin-Toomey also would have succeeded.) And then he exited, stage right.

Just woke up in a cave after five years of slumber? The new issue of D Magazine can explain what Obamacare means for you.