Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doubled down Tuesday on his opposition to Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal to filibuster a House-passed spending bill that would keep the government funded past Sept. 30.
But McConnell said that is exactly why Republicans should support the motion to invoke cloture on the bill — because it will put pressure on Democrats to affirmatively support the controversial 2010 health care law.
McConnell argued that “even some of the bill’s fiercest early backers are looking for an escape hatch. But there’s only one escape hatch that will fully help those trapped by this law, and that’s full repeal.”
He went to say:
“That’s why I’m supporting the House-passed CR. Not only does it defund this terrible law, it doesn’t increase government spending by a penny. And it keeps the government from shutting down, which nobody wants. And it does something else. And this is really important. It puts the focus right where it belongs, on the Democrats who voted for and continue to support Obamacare. Because once we invoke cloture, Mr. President, the focus will turn to our friends on the other side of the aisle — the Senate Democrats. …
“I just don’t happen to think filibustering a bill that defunds Obamacare is the best route to defunding Obamacare. All it does is shut down the government and keep Obamacare funded, and none of us want that.”
McConnell then sought to put pressure on vulnerable Democratic senators by saying only five of them are needed to defeat Reid’s amendment to eliminate the Obamacare defunding language. When the House passed the CR last week, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., called out vulnerable Democrats such as Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska by name in an effort to pressure them to vote to defund the health care law.
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