Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been
speaking on the Senate floor for more than 20 hours, now, taking drastic steps to continue his opposition to providing funding for the Affordable Care Act in the continuing resolution.
He hasn’t been allowed so much as a bathroom break. Because of Senate rules, he cannot leave the Senate floor, cannot sit down, and can only yield briefly to his colleagues for “questions.” He has only had a few bites to eat.
But the question you’re probably asking is this:
How has Cruz managed to go 20 hours without even a bathroom break?
In Cruz’s situation, this is unclear. A Cruz spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking clarification. But he has not left the floor, or he would cede control of the floor and not be able to continue speaking.
There are different precedents for bathroom breaks during filibusters. (Technically, under Senate rules, Cruz’s talk-a-thon isn’t a “filibuster,” because he is not blocking or delaying a vote on a legislation.)
In March, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) joked at the end of his historic, 13-hour filibuster that nature wouldn’t allow him to continue.
“I would try to go another 12 hours and try to break Strom Thurmond’s record, but there are some limits to filibustering and I am going to have to go take care of one of those here,” Paul said.
Afterward, Paul told conservative radio host Glenn Beck that he had thought about using a catheter during his filibuster. Wendy Davis, the Democratic Texas State senator who filibustered abortion-related legislation earlier this year, did use a catheter during what was more than 11 hours of filibustering.
Thurmond, who still holds the record for the longest filibuster in Senate history, went for more than 24 hours to block civil-rights legislation. How did he do it? According to NPR, he “aides tried to avoid defeat by the toilet by setting up a bucket in the cloakroom where Thurmond could pee, keeping one foot on the Senate floor while doing so.”
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