Sen. Ted Cruz took a brief break from many hours of speaking against Obamacare to wish goodnight to his young daughters — without ceding control of the Senate floor.
As the clock passed 8 p.m., early in the sixth hour of his presentation, the Texas Republican paused his regular material to read bedtime stories, beginning with King Solomon’s Wise Words from Proverbs and eventually turning to Dr. Seuss.
“Right now, Caroline and Catherine are both at home getting ready to go to bed, and they both turned on the television. They’re both watching C-SPAN. I will confess Caroline and Catherine don’t usually watch C-SPAN. There are far too few animated features,” Cruz said, suggesting perhaps an opportunity for the cable network to reach a new audience.
“Because the girls are watching, Heidi is watching with them, I want to take an opportunity, an opportunity I don’t usually have when I’m in D.C. to read them a couple of bedtime stories … If you will forgive me, I want to read two bedtime stories to my girls. But there’s a point to this also and the point is very simple,” he added. “The urgency we have and should feel is because of our kids. It’s because of the future that they’re facing.”
After the reading of King Solomon’s Wise Words, Cruz turned to Dr. Seuss, reading “Green Eggs and Ham.” Cruz had noted hours before that his father made a dish of green eggs and ham at home.
“It was my favorite story when I was a kid, and it’s a story I love reading them,” Cruz said just before reading the Seuss volume. “I actually don’t get to read it to them often because we have a rule at home they get to pick the books. For whatever reason, they don’t take Dr. Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ all that often. … Since tonight, girls, you aren’t here, you girls don’t get to pick the book.”
The reading of Dr. Seuss generated visible chuckles from visitors to the chamber in the gallery, as well as some on the floor.
Sen. Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., was on the floor throughout the segment, waiting to ask Cruz one of the lengthy “questions” that’s used during a speech in the style of a talking filibuster to give the lead speaker a respite without yielding the floor.
Enzi focused his question on the long-standing inability of the Senate to move regular appropriation bills, including the measure funding Health and Human Services. Cruz, who had plenty of help from other Republicans posing questions, showed no of slowing down as night fell.
Niels Lesniewski has covered the Senate for CQ Roll Call since January 2010, and more recently as a staff writer and resident procedure guru for Roll Call. Niels holds degrees in both government and theater but sometimes can't tell the difference between the two. @nielslesniewski
Meredith Shiner has covered Senate leadership, legislation and everything in between for Roll Call since joining in June 2011, having previously covered Congress and national politics for Politico. @meredithshiner