Both houses of Congress must reach agreement on funding legislation by Monday night to avoid most federal agencies closing on Tuesday.
Read a transcript of Cruz’s remarks on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a similarly contentious debate is simmering over raising the federal debt ceiling, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning Wednesday that the nation will exhaust its emergency borrowing capacity no later than Oct. 17.
Despite urging from some of his colleagues not to stage the talkathon, Cruz took the floor Tuesday afternoon promising to speak against the health-care law “until I am no longer able to stand.”
To most Americans, it looked like a traditional filibuster, fixed in the popular imagination by Jimmy Stewart’s performance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” But parliamentary procedures already in place meant that Cruz eventually would have to yield the floor.
Cruz’s controversial strategy shrank the window available for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and his colleagues to respond with a different version of the legislation.
(INTERACTIVE: Longest filibusters of all time
By 5 a.m., the length of Cruz’s marathon discourse had surpassed lengthy filibusters by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March and the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) in 1964. He earned a lead spot on all three network morning news shows, acknowledging that he was “a little bit” tired but still looking remarkably fresh. The television anchors dubbed Cruz’s effort a “talkathon,” even as they explained to viewers that his effort would not derail the legislative process.
The senator, still wearing the dark suit and light blue tie he had donned the previous day, kept his composure throughout his marathon presentation.
The Cruz talkathon was the latest example of the increasingly stark division among Republicans, both on Capitol Hill and nationally. The Texas newcomer, just 42 and nine months into his first term in office, is carrying the banner for conservatives who urge a take-no-prisoners approach in confronting the president, even if it means shuttering the government.
But the move angered senior Republicans, who complained that Cruz and the other junior senators pushing this strategy did not understand the wounds the GOP suffered during the mid-1990s shutdown battles with President Bill Clinton. Back then, the party controlled both the House and Senate, a luxury compared with its tenuous majority in the House today.