A philosophical divide among Republican senators became very public Tuesday afternoon, and Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee played prominent roles in the schism.
Republican senators eat lunch together every Tuesday. Per the Washington Post, at this week’s luncheon several senior senators tried to dissuade Lee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) from employing the filibuster as a tactic for defunding Obamacare. However, when the freshman senators dismissed the overtures, Hatch quickly unloaded on Lee and Cruz’s crusade to defund Obamacare.
“Moments (after the luncheon), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told reporters that he disagreed with Lee's assertions that there is considerable grass-roots support to defund the health-care law,” the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe and Paul Kane wrote.
Specifically, Hatch said, “There’s a lot of people upset on both sides, and I just don’t believe anybody benefits from shutting the government down, and certainly Republicans don’t. We’re in the minority, we have to find a way of standing up for our principles without immolating ourselves in front of everybody, in a way when we don’t have the votes to do it.”
Shortly thereafter, Cruz and Lee started their filibuster in the Senate.
Politico’s Burgess Everett reported, “Ted Cruz seized control of the Senate floor on Tuesday at about 2:42 p.m., vowing to ‘speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.’ Joined by Utah Sen. Mike Lee on the floor beside him, Cruz forged ahead despite the fact that Republicans can’t perform a talking filibuster to delay indefinitely the stopgap spending measure. Cruz wore comfy black tennis shoes to help him make his stand and was given his first breather by Lee nearly an hour into his speech.”
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