Senator Ted Cruz - GOP's Last Stand

[Family Research Council, September 25, 2013]

The GOP's Last Stand

When Senator Ted Cruz said he was going to stand up to ObamaCare, who knew he meant literally? Twenty-one hours into the fourth longest speech in Senate history, Cruz's one-man crusade finally came to an end -- the victim of age-old Senate procedure. While he might not succeed in keeping Harry Reid from amending the continuing resolution to include ObamaCare funds, he has succeeded in bringing international attention to one of the worst legislative catastrophes in American politics: ObamaCare.

Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Cruz said he rose to "make D.C. listen" -- and listen they did, to an all-night talkathon that touched on everything from Dr. Seuss, Duck Dynasty, and the Old Testament to space travel, White Castle hamburgers, and Ashton Kutcher. "I will say," Senator Cruz said well after midnight, "standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there's sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that's involved. But you know what? There's far more pain involved in rolling over... far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity."

Around 1:00 a.m., Cruz (who probably had days' worth of material on the negative effects of ObamaCare) lashed out at the religious liberty implications of ObamaCare, specifically the contraception-abortion mandate. He read from Hobby Lobby's testimony, one of the many companies suing against the mandate that would order them to provide abortion-inducing pills against their faith. From there, Cruz broadened his attack to the administration's hostility toward Christians and chaplains in the military.

Finally, at noon, Majority Leader Harry Reid used the Senate rules to shut the Senator down, saying his gutsy speech had "been a big waste of time." (This from the biggest time-waster in Senate history.) For now, the Senate moves on to considering the House's budget resolution, which, if everything goes according to Reid's plan, will reinstate the funding for ObamaCare. If members use the full debate time, a final vote on the short-term budget would come sometime this weekend. From there, the bill would ping-pong back to the House for an eleventh hour-dash to fund the government.

Fortunately, this isn't the House's only chance to put an expiration date on ObamaCare. While the cameras were on Cruz, conservatives were quietly working on an equally important push: the debt ceiling. By mid-October, the United States will officially default on its loans if Congress doesn't raise its credit limit. In the end, the debt ceiling will probably be raised. The question is how much conservatives can extract from the Left in exchange for their cooperation in increasing it. This morning, we sent an FRC-organized letter to Congress signed by over 200 religious leaders urging them to attach religious freedom protections to any must-pass legislation.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) piggybacked on our letter with one of his own (modeled after language from FRC). Together with more than 60 cosponsors, Pitts is seizing the moment to accomplish something over two and a half years in the making: attaching conscience rights to the debt ceiling bill. "This attack on the pro-life conscience of America demands immediate congressional action," they write to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "Nothing short of a full exemption for both non-profit and for-profit entities will satisfy the rights guaranteed in the First Amendment, and nothing but a complete prohibition on public funding for abortion coverage will keep the status quo under the Hyde amendment."

None of this would have happened if people like you hadn't called their congressmen. The House and Senate offices I've talked to have been so overwhelmed by the public's response that they're more motivated than they've ever been to put pressure on leadership. 

Your voice makes all the difference -- use it!

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