The Cruz vs. Reid Obamacare Showdown: Here’s How Senators Voted

By voting for cloture, the Senate cleared the way for a budget resolution that would avoid a shutdown and preserve funding for Obamacare.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
National Journal
Marina Koren, Matt Vasilogambros and Patrick Reis
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Marina Koren Matt Vasilogambros and Patrick Reis
Sept. 27, 2013, 9:20 a.m.

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.

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