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Beltway Confidential

Are you confused by Ted Cruz's vote on cloture? (Ahem, NY Times.) Then read this.

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Earlier today, after Ted Cruz spoke for 21 hours, the Senate voted 100-0 to on the "Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed" to the bill funding the government.

This has confused some journalists. For instance, New York Times Congressional correspondent Jonathan Weisman wrote:

Mr. Cruz even voted to open debate. After the vote, Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah and a Cruz ally, said Mr. Cruz never intended to oppose the motion to take up the bill, a position contradicted by his words and procedural motions for days before the tally.

And on Twitter, Weisman threw in an "Ahem" about Lee's explanation, arguing that Cruz had said the opposite.

But Cruz, all along had promised to support the motion proceed, but to filibuster the next cloture motion -- the Motion to Invoke Cloture on the resolution itself. In other words, Cruz favors moving into debate on the CR, but not cutting off debate on the CR.

Here were Cruz's words last night:

The central vote the Senate will take on this fight will not occur today and it will not occur tomorrow. The first vote we are going to take on this is a vote on what is called cloture on the motion to proceed. Very few people not on this floor have any idea what that means and even, I suspect, a fair number of people on this floor are not quite sure what that means. That will simply be a vote whether to take up this bill and to begin debating this bill. I expect that vote to pass overwhelmingly, if not unanimously. Everyone agrees we ought to take this up, we ought to start this conversation.

The next vote we take will occur on Friday or Saturday and it will be on what is called cloture on the bill. That is the vote that matters. Cloture on the bill, the vote Friday or Saturday, is the vote that matters.

My colleague Joel Gehrke explains the fuller context.

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