Update 2:25 p.m.: The Senate has cleared a hurdle on a stopgap spending bill that would avert a government shutdown and unravel President Barack Obama's health care law.
The vote was 100-0 and came an hour after freshman Sen. Ted Cruz ended his 21-hour, 19-minute filibuster. Cruz supports the bill but used a stalling tactic to postpone the inevitable - Democratic leader Harry Reid has the votes to strip out the defund Obamacare provision and send the spending bill back to the House.
The procedural vote allows the Senate to move ahead on the bill, with a key vote looming Friday or Saturday. The fiscal year ends on Monday and failure to pass a bill would force a government shutdown.
1:05 p.m.: After 21 hours and 19 minutes, conservative Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has ended his talkathon aimed at dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law.
He sat down at noon, Eastern time, the pre-determined time for the Senate to adjourn, as several of his colleagues applauded.
The Senate then pushed ahead to a test vote on a bill to avert a government shutdown. The House attached a provision that would gut the health care law; the Senate is planning to remove it.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says the marathon speech by Cruz was "a big waste of time."
Since yesterday afternoon, the Texas freshman senator controlled the floor — with occasional remarks by other GOP conservatives. His allies gave him brief breaks from speaking, by asking lengthy questions. But he was required by Senate rules to remain on his feet.
Republican leaders and several rank-and-file GOP lawmakers had opposed his time-consuming effort, with the end of the fiscal year approaching. They were afraid that House Republicans wouldn't have enough time to respond to what the Senate eventually does.
This segment aired on September 25, 2013.