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Cruz threatens filibuster over 'Obamacare' and government funding


Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wouldn't rule out a filibuster effort to block legislation that includes funding for "Obamacare."

The figurehead for a conservative effort to strip funding for the Affordable Care Act before it takes effect on Oct. 1, Cruz said his tactics could include a filibuster. Asked by NBC News whether he'd be willing to employ the tactic, the Texas senator replied: "Yes, and use any procedural means necessary."

Cruz made the comment after some House Republicans criticized him for already "waving the white flag of surrender" after acknowledging he likely lacked the vote to overcome the Democratic majority in the senate, and urged House Republicans to hold the line in the fight over Obamacare. 

Cruz's apparent willingness to filibuster could make for appointment television on the Senate floor next week, when House-passed legislation to sustain government operations and defund Obamacare hits the floor. Democrats are almost sure to strip the health care provision, leaving conservatives like Cruz with the tall task of halting them. 

If the impasse can't be resolved by the end of September, the government would shut down (except for the most essential services). That scenario could catapult Cruz into an uncomfortable role of national face of the Republican Party.

Interestingly enough, Cruz's ideological compatriot when it comes to hating on fellow Republicans, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, said a shutdown over Obamacare funds was "not a good idea" in order "to force through the implementation of Obamacare at a time when the president has said he's not going to follow the law and he's going to make substantial changes, without constitutional or statutory authority to do so."

Careful to downplay internatl GOP fractiousnessm, Cruz heaped praise on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, calling him "courageous" for bringing a bill to the House floor that "defunds Obamacare" while funding the rest of the government. 

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