After a dramatic 21-plus hours in which Republican Sen. Ted Cruz stood to express his opposition to President Obama's health care programs, the Senate early Wednesday afternoon voted 100-0 to move ahead and take up legislation that would avert a government shutdown next Tuesday.
As expected, the move by the Democratic-led Senate sets up what promises to be another showdown with the Republican-controlled House.
USA Today writes that the unanimous vote:
"Cleared the way to begin debate on a House-passed stopgap spending bill that includes language to defund the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare]. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to strip that provision from the bill and return to the House later this week a clean stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Nov. 15.
"The overwhelming support for the procedural vote made clear that the votes do not exist in Congress to defund the law, but Cruz's filibuster-style speech drew praise from colleagues and opponents of the law."
The Hill sums up what happened this way:
"Senators voted by a margin of 100 to 0 to end debate on a motion to proceed to the House-passed stopgap, which includes language to prioritize debt payments if Congress fails to raise the debt limit this fall. The vote sets the stage for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to offer an amendment to strip the defund-ObamaCare and the debt-prioritization language out of the House measure.
"Republicans said they support advancing the legislation because it would defund the controversial healthcare law."
Now, if things go as expected, the House and Senate will be at odds over what should and should not be included in legislation that would keep the government open past the Sept. 30 end of its fiscal year.