Senator Ted Cruz is currently on the Senate floor speaking against the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and for the need to stop it from going into affect. (Technically it is not a filibuster because there is not specific legislation up for a vote right now, but the effect is pretty much the same.)
There is a diverse group speaking to the media and criticizing Cruz. Of course, the Democrats do not like Cruz’ stand on this issue. But many Republicans/conservatives are publicly asking him to stand down.
One argument is that including a provision to defund Obamacare in the budget continuing resolution creates the risk of a government shutdown. (See my argument against that opinion.) A related argument is that filibuster is a waste of time since there is no way legislation to defund Obamacare can pass both chambers of Congress and be signed by President Obama. So what? Cruz is using a legitimate Senate procedure to make his opinion known. Since when do all Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) have to always agree with and vote for their party’s official stance on any issue?
Some say this sort of thing shows Congress is dysfunctional, but I say that Cruz is trying to restore its proper function. We have been listening for 4 years to Democrats tell us that everyone in a party must move and speak in lock-step, and that the party in power should be unopposed in passing their legislative agenda. Now the Republican machine has adopted this model. But that is not democratic (form of government, not political party), nor historic practice. (Before Senator Harry Reid became Majority Leader, he often voted against the Democrats’ pro-choice platform. I spoke to him personally on this issue several times. He voted his conscience [and religious beliefs].)
Anyone and everyone in this country has the right to oppose what President Obama and the Democrats are doing. The Dems are hypocritical (and apparently hope we have short memories) since they banded together to oppose President Bush on a regular basis.
Over 50% of Americans oppose most of the provisions in Obamacare. So, although Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency, they are not representing their constituents on this issue. In fact the major labor unions have gone from supporting Obamacare to opposing it (since it will tax or eliminate their excellent health insurance plans), so the Democrats are not even representing their big donors.
Regardless of whether Senator Cruz’ quasi-filibuster produces legislative results, and even if you disagree with his opinion, he should be applauded for standing up (literally) for what he believes is right.