Ted Cruz has been on the Senate floor for over 18 hours

Ted Cruz filibusters CR

“I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said yesterday at 2:41pm as he began a filibuster of the House version of the Continuing Resolution (CR), the stop-gap spending measure that Congress must past to avoid a government shutdown.

What has been billed as a “filibuster” isn’t actually a filibuster, as the motion to proceed on the CR will take place today regardless of what Cruz says. Nevertheless, Cruz has used his time — controlling the floor of the Senate for nearly 19 hours, the fourth longest speech in the chamber’s history — to express a multitude concerns about the 2010 healthcare law and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to raising the vote threshold for changes to the CR to 60 votes (only 51 votes are currently required to make changes).

“All across this country Americans are suffering because of ObamaCare. ObamaCare isn’t working. Yet fundamentally there are politicians in this body who are not listening to the people,” said Cruz the outset of his speech. “They are not listening to the concerns of their constituents, they are not listening to the jobs lost or the people forced into part-time work, to the people losing their health insurance, to the people who are struggling.”

This was the theme of Cruz’s speech — “make DC listen.” His Senate staff has used the hashtag #MakeDCListen, from which Cruz has read tweets during his speech. The Texas senator has cited complaints about ObamaCare from labor unions, employers, and ordinary Americans throughout the course of the still ongoing speech. He has spoken about applying the law to President Obama, members of Congress, staffers, and federal employees; noting that it’s unfair to Americans that they get exemptions from the law.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was the first of Cruz’s colleagues to come his aid, around the end of the first hour. Cruz can take questions from other senators as long as he doesn’t yield the floor. Sens. David Vitter (R-LA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and James Inhofe (R-OK) have all joined Cruz at various points.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) also asked Cruz questions. Durbin, who was dismissive of Cruz, focused on procedure and defended his vote for ObamaCare. Kaine discussed healthcare policy as it relates to ObamaCare, including coverage for preexisting conditions.

Keep in mind that, through all of this, Cruz hasn’t been able to take a break, outside of taking questions from other senators. He hasn’t been able to sit down, sleep or use the restroom.

“The American people understand that when you have a law that is killing jobs, when you have a law that is hammering small businesses, when you have a law that is forcing people into part-time work and to work 29 hours a week, when you have a law that is causing skyrocketing insurance premiums, when you have a law that is causing more and more people to lose their health insurance, you have a law that is not working,” said Cruz at one point during his speech.

“You have a train wreck, as the Democratic Senator who is the lead author of this bill described it. Yet right now the Senate is not listening to the American people. The Democrats in the Senate understandably have circled the wagons,” he continued. “They passed this bill, and even if it is a sinking ship, we have yet to see Democrats come out and say: We tried it. It didn’t work. Let’s listen to the American people.”

“I hope the time comes this week where we see some courageous Democrats stand—and let me say to any Democratic Senator who does so, he or she will receive withering criticisms from the partisans in your party,” he added.

Lee, who along with Cruz has pushed defunding ObamaCare, gave a passionate, brilliant talk about the Supreme Court decision, in which he explained how the five justices who voted in favor of upholding the individual mandate essentially rewrote the law to make it work, far from the intent of Congress.

Senate Republican leaders have largely dismissed Cruz’s tactics. None of them has come to the floor to ask Cruz questions, despite a tsunami of phone calls to their offices urging them to do so.

Cruz is still going strong. Several of his conservative Republican colleagues are still lined up to ask questions about ObamaCare and the various provisions that will harm the American people and the economy. You can watch live at CSPAN 2, both on television and online or stream it via FreedomWorks below:

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.