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Senate takes baby step toward keeping the government open

Moving past Texas senator's talkathon, Senate takes procedural vote and lets the clock run, while Obama administration warns of the next looming crisis.
by Chris Casteel Modified: September 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm •  Published: September 26, 2013

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called Cruz's remarks “a big waste of time.” And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized Cruz for suggesting that Republicans not on board with his effort were similar to those who appeased the Nazis before World War II.

The Senate voted unanimously to move the bill past the first procedural hurdle, and the next one is expected this weekend.

Inhofe and tea party

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, was among a handful of Republicans who helped Cruz during his marathon speech, appearing on the floor late Tuesday and again Wednesday morning to ask lengthy questions to give Cruz some rest.

Inhofe was the target of automated calls in Oklahoma urging people to call his offices to tell him to stand with Cruz and block the spending bill in the Senate. The calls identified the source as the Tea Party Patriots — one of the nation's largest tea party groups and a strong backer of Cruz's effort.

However, Inhofe told Cruz on the Senate floor that President Barack Obama's supporters were behind the calls.

“People realized I was there from the very beginning, as the senator from Texas mentioned, and yet we have some of the Obama people who are doing robocalls in my state of Oklahoma posing as tea party people and saying to call Inhofe because he is for Obamacare,” Inhofe said.

An Inhofe spokeswoman said Wednesday that the senator's office tried to contact the tea party organization about the calls and, when they couldn't reach anybody, the senator assumed the “Obama campaign” was providing material.

The spokeswoman said later that a leader of the Tea Party Patriots had called Inhofe's office to apologize for the robocalls.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who wants to defund Obamacare but believes the Cruz-backed effort is doomed to failure, said on the Senate floor that “the thousands and thousands of people from Oklahoma” that have called his office have “been sold a bill of goods.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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