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Senator Dick Durbin Challenges Ted Cruz During Marathon Speech

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Durbin Gives Cruz a Break From Talking ... and Talking

AP

This video frame grab image from Senate TV show Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaking on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. The Democratic-controlled Senate is on a path toward defeating tea party attempts to dismantle President Barack Obama's health care law, despite an overnight talkathon on the chamber's floor led by Cruz. (AP Photo/Senate TV)

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is one of two Democrats in the Senate to challenge the obnoxious/heroic (depending on your views) Texas Senator Ted Cruz during his Quixotic campaign to talk for hours about why the legislature should defund the healthcare reform act commonly referred to as Obamacare. 

Durbin asked a question during Cruz's not-exactly-a-filibuster speech in which Cruz slams Obamacare and asks the Senate to not vote on a bill he supports. Durbin is a supporter of the law and asked some pointed questions and also shared an anecdote about a how the law helps a constituent. 

As of press time, Cruz had been speaking for more than 16 hours, and while much of the conservative blogoshphere piled on Durbin for interrupting Cruz with bleeding heart interjections -- many say he got schooled buy Cruz --  the Senator from Illinois actually did his colleague a favor. 

Even though Cruz is not technically filibustering, he is subject to Senate rules for holding the floor and that means he has to stand and talk non-stop until he's done. Cruz is aiming to make the longest speech in Senate history. 

Because of the parlimentary rules and customs of the Senate, the only breaks Cruz is allowed to take is when a Senate colleague asks a question --- he can stop talking and actually step away from the podium when a colleague is asking. Some colleagues asked very long questions.  

So, despite their opposing views, Durbin actually did Cruz a solid by asking him a question and giving his vocal chords a little break. 

The only other Deomcrat to give him a break was Tim Kaine from Virginia. Teammates Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., Sen. James Inhofe, R-Texas, Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., all interrupted with questions and mini-diatribes in order to give Cruz a break, too. 

Related Topics Dick Durbin, Ted Cruz, Senate, Obamacare
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