The Senate voted 79-19 Friday to advance legislation that would keep the government funded through the fall, a critical step for Democrats as they seek to avert an Oct. 1 government shutdown while still protecting funding for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
In its previous form, the bill would strip funding for Obamacare, but Friday’s vote paved the way for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his fellow Democrats to vote to remove that language and pass a version of the bill that includes funding for the health care law. They did just that along party lines.
For Democrats, Friday’s vote is an easy decision: Voting yes allows them to protect funding for a law they favor, as well as send a bill back to the House, leaving that chamber with the choice of whether to pass it and avert a government shutdown.
For Republicans, the vote represented a politically perilous choice: By voting vote no on cluture, some chose to stand with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in telling Democrats they will not accept an extension the keeps Obamcare funded, even if that means the government shuts down Oct. 1.
But while Republicans are united in their desire to defund Obamacare, they differ in tactics, as many — including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., — say they prefer not to precipitate a shutdown over the measure. Those senators fear the political backlash of being blamed for shutting down the government, and would prefer to use different levers, including possibly the upcoming battle over the debt ceiling, to defund the health care law.
Here’s how they voted:
Republicans voting for cloture:
Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), John McCain (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), John Thune (S.D.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Jeff Chiesa (N.J.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Texas).
Republicans voting against cloture:
Ted Cruz (Texas), Marco Rubio (Fla.), David Vitter (La.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Jim Risch (Idaho), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.).
Democrats voting for cloture:
All of them.
Senators who did not vote:
Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Orrin Hatch (Utah)
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly stated the home states of senators Johanns and Thune. They are Nebraska and South Dakota, respectively.