At noon the Senate will end debate on cloture for the continuing resolution. According to an agreement between Harry Reid and Ted Cruz, the Texas senator's speech would wrap up before the upper house proceeded to a vote. In the 11 a.m. hour, Cruz surprised Democrats by suggesting three resolutions that could be unanimous consent—you know, as long as they didn't object.
- Bring up the House continuing resolution immediately. (That wouldn't allow Democrats the time to amend it.)
- Shorten remaining debate time so that the vote on cloture before final passage occured on Friday, when Americans might be watching, not a Saturday when they might be busy "watching football." (This would also give House Republicans more time to wrangle votes. Senate Republicans, as I reported yesterday, worry that a lengthy Cruz-Lee gambit would reduce John Boehner's time to engineer one of his patented successful House votes.)
- Extend his debating time past noon, because, darn it, he could still speak. "There is still strength in my legs," said Cruz, as a rapt audience of Marco Rubio, Chuck Grassley, and Mike Lee looked on.
The Democratic leaders, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin, ignored Cruz's description of the UC requests, in anticipation of defeating them. They treated the requests like debating gimmicks—which, to be fair, they kind of were. Cruz was scheduled to appear on Rush Limbaugh's show at 1 p.m.