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December 22, 2014

Posts in "Ted Cruz"

December 16, 2014

Democrats Close Out Majority With Wins on Nominations

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Reid said that the Democrats could have accomplished more during the lame-duck session. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“This will be the last vote of this Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced shortly before 9:30 p.m.

The Senate’s end-of-session mechanics kicked into high gear Tuesday, with the chamber confirming a slew of President Barack Obama’s judicial and executive nominations and clearing a one-year retroactive extension of lapsed tax breaks that will resolve the issue for just weeks.

Reid, who will become the minority leader in the 114th Congress, told reporters he thinks the Democrats could have seen more accomplished in the lame-duck session.

“There’s a lot more we could and should have done,” Reid said, adding, “We did OK this time, but we’ve had better.”

Full story

December 15, 2014

Cruz Doesn’t Believe Governors Have Edge Over Senators in Presidential Races

cruz 087 090914 445x296 Cruz Doesnt Believe Governors Have Edge Over Senators in Presidential Races

Cruz says governors aren’t better as 2016 contenders. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, doesn’t believe governors have an advantage over senators when it comes to winning the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

“It’s an advantage only if you think that the American people are looking for someone who is not standing up and leading on the great challenges of the day,” Cruz said Monday in an appearance on the “Mark Levin Show.” Full story

By Humberto Sanchez Posted at 9:18 p.m.
2016, Ted Cruz

December 14, 2014

How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

cruz 206 062713 445x274 How Big Is the Ted Cruz Caucus?

Eleven Republicans sided with Ted Cruz on all three key votes on the ‘cromnibus.’ (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful.

Let’s break down the three votes — on filibustering the $1.1 trillion package, on Cruz’s point of order aimed at targeting the president’s immigration action, and final passage. Full story

Saturday Session a Preview of What’s to Come

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At the end of a rare Saturday session, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was direct when asked if Democrats, led by outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had gotten the better of Republicans.

“I think most Republicans think that Christmas came early for Democrats,” Graham said “I haven’t seen Harry smile this much in years, and I didn’t particularly like it.”

His comments came after Democrats set the groundwork on as many as 24 nominations, many which Republicans opposed, before clearing the massive $1.013 trillion spending package, ending the threat of a government shutdown. Full story

December 13, 2014

Senate Rejects Cruz Point of Order on Obama’s Immigration Action

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Ted Cruz’s immigration gambit was thumped by the Senate. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:05 p.m. | Ted Cruz’s proxy vote against President Barack Obama’s executive action ended in an overwhelming defeat Saturday night, splitting the GOP in half.

Not that Cruz didn’t try.

“It allows Republicans to also show they are committed to ending Obama’s amnesty once and for all in the next Congress. If we agree it is indeed unconstitutional, we have no business funding it when the GOP controls Congress,” the Texas Republican said in a statement ahead of that vote. “The Constitution matters, and we must defend it. That is why we have fought so hard to ensure this vote.”

Cruz’s point of order failed 22-74, with about 20 Republicans joining with the Democrats to oppose it, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. and Cruz’s fellow Texan, Republican Whip John Cornyn.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ripped Cruz’s maneuver as “irresponsible” in a statement late Saturday:

“‎While the president’s executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency,” said Corker. “The Constitution gives Congress the power to fund the government so to assert that the House-passed spending bill is unconstitutional is not only inaccurate but irresponsible.”

Cruz’s vote was a rather blunt instrument, since he raised a Constitutional point of order against the entirety of the section of the catch-all “cromnibus” spending bill providing continuing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security. Putting the question directly to the chamber was in keeping with longstanding Senate practice.

“The junior senator from Texas is wrong, wrong, wrong on several counts,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor, saying the objection on Constitutional grounds had no basis, pointing out that the House had already passed the entirety of the spending bill. The other 11 regular appropriation bills (aside from Homeland Security) are funded through the end of fiscal 2015.

When Cruz sought to raise the same point-of-order on Friday, the parliamentary timing was not yet correct, and Cruz told CQ Roll Call that he would return, likely in the wee hours of Sunday morning. In fact, an agreement reached to expedite the processing of the Senate’s business put that vote Saturday night, just ahead of a vote to clear the spending bill for President Barack Obama. The vote on Cruz’s point-of-order came just after the Senate agreed, 77-19, to limit debate on the underlying legislation.

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, said Cruz’s gambit helped Democrats confirm more nominees.

“Senator Cruz’s stunt got two fewer votes than the twenty-four Obama nominees he helped Senate Democrats advance tonight,” he said in an email.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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December 12, 2014

Reid Announces Weekend Votes After Blockade (Updated)

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Cruz wants a vote on immigration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated Dec. 13, 12:15 a.m. | Conservatives stalled action on the Senate floor late Friday as leaders scrambled to wrap up the 113th Congress.

Senators will reconvene at noon Saturday for a series of up to 40 roll call votes after conservatives sought to force votes to block President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration before consenting to a final vote on the “cromnibus” to fund the government. The collapse of a potential deal to set the votes on the spending bill for Monday came amid a longstanding feud about nominations, which will now take center stage on Saturday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Saturday’s session will feature a lengthy series of procedural votes in order to allow him to file cloture on a number of pending nominations. He said it appeared Republicans would require procedural votes to get in and out of executive session, where he could file the cloture petitions. The GOP, which takes over the majority in January, is loath to make it easy for Democrats to process President Barack Obama’s nominations.

Full story

December 10, 2014

Senate GOP Wrestles With Whether to Undo the Nuclear Option

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Graham wants Republicans to defuse the nuclear option and return the 60-vote threshold on nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After crying foul when Democrats used the nuclear option to essentially eliminate the filibuster for most nominations, Senate Republicans are wrestling with whether to change it back.

Republicans, who will take over the majority next Congress, met Tuesday evening to discuss the matter, but reached no decision on a course of action. Full story

November 24, 2014

Ted Cruz Floats Joe Lieberman for Defense Secretary

lieberman 07 071310 445x333 Ted Cruz Floats Joe Lieberman for Defense Secretary

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz has an idea for a new Defense secretary that the incoming Senate Armed Services chairman would love.

The Texas Republican on Monday floated the name of former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, to replace Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.

“We need a Secretary of Defense who is squarely focused on defending the national security interests of the United States, first and foremost, and especially preventing a bad deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons program that could do irreparable harm to us and our allies,” Cruz said in a statement.

Full story

November 18, 2014

Cruz: Obama is No ‘Monarch,’ Pushes Short-Term Government Funding (Video)

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Cruz  is in favor of a short-term approach to funding the government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t know if his effort to push off the debate on funding the government into next year will prove successful, but the Texas Republican is sure making an effort.

“Time will tell,” Cruz said when asked if he thought momentum was building behind using a short-term stopgap spending measure next month. “I think a long-term omnibus or CR makes no sense. It hands over the decision-making authority of Congress to the president. I think what makes sense is a simple short-term CR to get out of the lame duck and into early next year.”

Cruz said the Republican wave was a referendum on the expected executive actions on immigration policy by Obama.

Full story

October 21, 2014

10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General

sessions006 062013 445x302 10 Questions for Eric Holders Replacement as Attorney General

Cruz, left, and Sessions both sit on the Judiciary Committee and will have a change to grill the nominee for attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Eric H. Holder Jr.’s replacement as attorney general will face a grilling from the Senate Judiciary Committee after the elections, with the position key to enabling President Barack Obama’s pen-and-phone executive agenda and with numerous hot-button issues under the purview of the Justice Department.

The nominee to replace Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who is also leaving, will also face much the same treatment.

Here are 10 questions the nominees will likely hear:

1. What is the limit of the president’s executive authority on immigration? Full story

October 14, 2014

Cornyn, Cruz Back Obamacare Lawsuit Over Origination Clause

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are backing another Obamacare lawsuit, hoping to upend the law.

The Texas Republicans — both lawyers — filed a court brief backing the lawsuit, which claims the Senate failed to comply with the Constitutional requirement that revenue bills start in the House.

While the House drafted and passed a health care overhaul, the Senate did not use that bill as the base for its own effort. The legislative history for the bill that became law as the Affordable Care Act shows that it started as an innocuous measure in the House waiving the repayment requirement of the first-time home-buyer tax credit for some military personnel. Full story

Twitter’s Most Popular Congressional Staffer Gets New Title

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz has a new communications director in his Senate shop, but it’s a familiar face. Amanda Carpenter, the most-followed congressional staffer on Twitter, is getting a title that aligns more with her recent duties.

Not surprisingly, Carpenter, who has been senior communications adviser and speechwriter — highlighted the new title in a Tweet:

When CQ Roll Call profiled Carpenter in February, she conceded that the Texas Republican’s office offered her more freedom to use her own voice on social media than many other staffers, something attributable not only to Cruz and her former Senate boss, Jim DeMint, R-S.C., but to her history as a conservative columnist and a fresh face of conservative media. Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 12:16 p.m.
Politics, Ted Cruz

October 6, 2014

Ted Cruz Slams SCOTUS on Gay Marriage: ‘Tragic and Indefensible’

cruz 087 090914 445x296 Ted Cruz Slams SCOTUS on Gay Marriage: Tragic and Indefensible

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:49 p.m. | While most Republicans shied away from commenting Monday on the Supreme Court’s historic decision to let stand a slew of lower court rulings legalizing gay marriage, Sen. Ted Cruz torched the court’s decision.

The Texas Republican called the decision “tragic and indefensible” and said he would introduce a constitutional amendment that would ensure states can ban gay marriage.

“By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” he said in a statement. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:45 p.m.
Ted Cruz

Cruz Says 60 Days Are Up for War Powers Against ISIS

cruz2092313 445x300 Cruz Says 60 Days Are Up for War Powers Against ISIS

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is pointing out that on Monday, the 60 days for military intervention under the War Powers Resolution should run out since the start of operations in Iraq against ISIS.

The Texas Republican wrote in an opinion piece for National Review that President Barack Obama should bring Congress back now that the clock has run its course.

“Given that 60 days has expired, the president should come to Congress and get proper authorization for this new military action (with an official name for the operation). He should lay out clear, defined military objectives. Congress, as a united body, should reject every attempt from hostile actors such as Iran to exploit our mission for their own gain,” Cruz wrote. “And we must abandon the fantasy that the Syrian moderate rebels will be our proxy army in this fight and prioritize instead working with the Kurdish forces who are also focused on ISIS.” Full story

October 2, 2014

Ted Cruz Asks FAA About Ebola Flight Ban

judiciary007 052114 445x291 Ted Cruz Asks FAA About Ebola Flight Ban

( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Ted Cruz is asking the Federal Aviation Administration what it’s doing to prevent the spread of Ebola after the first U.S. diagnosis, which came in his home state.

“Given the severity of this virus and the fact that its spread to Texas has been associated with travel, it is imperative that the FAA take every available precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States. As you may be aware, several African nations have already restricted or banned air travel to countries with confirmed cases of the Ebola virus,” the Texas Republican wrote in a letter to FAA chief Michael P. Huerta. “British Airways, Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways have also suspended flights due to the rising death toll and deteriorating public health situation in Ebola-stricken countries.”

Among his questions, Cruz is asking Huerta in whether the FAA has any plans to stop allowing flights “to countries that have experienced a significant Ebola outbreak.”

Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House who is challenging Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan this year has called for such a travel ban. Full story

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