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March 31, 2015

Posts in "Ted Cruz"

March 23, 2015

At Liberty, Ted Cruz Speaks to the Faithful (Updated)

Ted Cruz announced his bid for the presidency at Liberty University on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 4:01 p.m. | LYNCHBURG, Va. — The Senate’s longest week kicked off some 180 miles southwest of the Capitol, with a presidential campaign announcement by one of the chamber’s conservative firebrands, Sen. Ted Cruz.

Timed to the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, Cruz made an explicitly religious and sharply conservative pitch to an enthusiastic audience dominated by thousands of Liberty University students.

By the end of the week, all of the potential presidential candidates will have a chance to make their mark thanks to the Senate budget resolution, and dozens of votes, hitting the floor for the unpredictable vote-a-rama.

Here in Lynchburg, Cruz’s record of big fights — and big legislative losses — on defunding Obamacare, rolling back President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration or opposing raising the debt limit — were a call to arms, not a record of failure.

Cruz suggested if millions of like-minded conservative voters get out and vote in the next election, his vision of America will come true.

“Roughly half of born-again Christians aren’t voting,” Cruz lamented, then asked his audience repeatedly to “imagine” a different world where they vote, and, presumably, he wins.

“Think just how different the world would be. Imagine: instead of economic stagnation, booming economic growth,” Cruz said. “Imagine young people coming out of school with four, five, six job offers.”

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 11:33 a.m.
2016, Budget, Ted Cruz

March 19, 2015

Cruz Launching Sanctions Missile Amid Rumors of Iran Deal

Ted Cruz

Cruz is introducing his own Iran sanctions proposal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Just days before a deadline for an update on a potential announcement of a nuclear agreement with Iran, one Republican senator likely to run for president is renewing a sanctions push.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is poised to introduce an updated version of legislation Thursday that would revive all sanctions previously loosened by the Obama administration, as well as expand petrochemical sanctions. Companion legislation is expected to be filed in the House of Representatives.

Full story

By Niels Lesniewski Posted at 1:44 p.m.
2016, Iran, Ted Cruz

February 26, 2015

3 Republicans Defy Ted Cruz, Back Loretta Lynch (Updated)

Ted Cruz

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:36 p.m. | It’s starting to look like yet another loss under the Dome for Ted Cruz.

The Texas firebrand’s fellow Republicans aren’t on board with his plan to block Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general.

The Senate Judiciary Committee backed the Lynch nomination, 12-8, Thursday with the help of three Republicans — Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. Full story

February 25, 2015

Ted Cruz Learns When to Fold

Ted Cruz won't gum up the works in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ted Cruz says he won’t gum up the works in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz apparently isn’t up for fighting just for the sake of fighting when it comes to funding the Department of Homeland Security.

Time and time again, the Texas firebrand has railed against deals struck by Mitch McConnell in recent years — and voted against them — but he hasn’t used all of the considerable procedural tools at his disposal to gum up the works. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 4:09 p.m.
Ted Cruz

February 12, 2015

Odd Couples Push Criminal Justice Overhauls (Updated)

Cornyn and Whitehouse conduct a news conference in the Capitol's Senate studio on bipartisan legislation to reform the prison system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cornyn and Whitehouse conduct a Feb. 10 news conference in the Capitol’s Senate studio on bipartisan legislation to reform the prison system. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 3:41 p.m. | John Cornyn and Sheldon Whitehouse. Mike Lee and Richard J. Durbin. Rand Paul and Harry Reid.

Those three Senate odd couples have been spearheading the rollout of legislation this week that, taken together, would affect prison sentences for convicted criminals, how long they might serve and what happens to them when they’ve paid their debt to society. That follows Paul teaming up with Judiciary Committee ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy earlier this month.

And if even one of the bills could move through the committee process and then secure some precious Senate floor time, who knows what might happen.

Full story

February 6, 2015

ISIS AUMF Debate a 2016 Foreign Policy Test

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cruz, left, and Graham are two senators seen as potential Republican candidates for the White House in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress is gearing up — belatedly — for a full-throated war debate that will serve as a proving ground for potential presidential candidates heading into 2016.

With a draft Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Islamic State terror group expected on Capitol Hill by the middle of the week, as lawmakers complete work before a weeklong Presidents Day recess, the debate over how much authority to give President Barack Obama will soon take center stage.

The issue will provide opportunities for jockeying among those senators seeking their party’s nomination for president, including Lindsey Graham, who recently announced his intention to explore the possibilities.

Full story

February 3, 2015

Graham Dings Cruz Effort to Block Loretta Lynch

Cruz and Graham last week. They disagree on Loretta Lynch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz and Graham last week. They disagree on Loretta Lynch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Lindsey Graham is knocking Sen. Ted Cruz’s effort to block Loretta Lynch from becoming attorney general over immigration.

Graham said Cruz’s proposed blockade would just leave Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in charge.

“Nobody is going to say that the executive order is illegal that President Obama appoints, so the idea that we would block an attorney general nominee until you’ve gotten somebody to agree with Sen. Cruz about the executive order is probably not feasible,” he said. “It ensures that Eric Holder stays in place for two years. It’s picking a fight that we can’t win.” Full story

January 28, 2015

Cruz Says Fate of ‘Dangerous’ Lynch Up to McConnell

Cruz called Lynch's views "dangerous." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz called Lynch’s views “dangerous.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Ted Cruz called attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch’s immigration views “dangerous” Wednesday and questioned whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., should even have the chamber consider her nomination.

“That is the decision the majority leader is going to have to make. I believe we should use every constitutional tool available to stop the president’s unconstitutional executive action. That’s what Republicans, Republican candidates all over the country said over and over again last year,” the Texas Republican said in a brief interview with CQ Roll Call as the daylong Judiciary Committee hearing on Lynch’s nomination neared conclusion.

Full story

January 12, 2015

Ted Cruz: Preserve Filibuster, Even For Obamacare Repeal

Cruz wants to keep the filibuster, even though it makes it harder to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Cruz wants to keep the filibuster, even though it makes it harder to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

There’s a limit to what Sen. Ted Cruz would do to repeal Obamacare.

The Texas Republican said Monday that Republicans should do “everything humanly possible to repeal Obamacare” during a speech at Heritage Action’s annual policy summit. It’s a line he’s used before. But he later added a caveat.

When asked if Republicans should use the “nuclear option” to ditch the filibuster on legislation and get more bills to President Obama’s desk, including a bill repealing Obamacare, Cruz told reporters, “no, we should not.”

“We should preserve the procedural protections in the Senate for the rights of the minority,” he said. Full story

Cornyn: ‘We Learned the Hard Way’

"We have the responsibility to govern," Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“We have the responsibility to govern,” Cornyn said. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At the start of the last Congress, John Cornyn wrote an editorial titled “Partial Government Shutdown May Be Needed to Restore Fiscal Sanity.” He’s singing a different tune today.

“I’ve evolved,” the Texas Republican and newly minted Senate majority whip said in an interview last week with CQ Roll Call.

For starters, the memory of the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare instigated by his fellow Texas senator, Ted Cruz, remains fresh. Full story

December 16, 2014

Democrats Close Out Majority With Wins on Nominations

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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?

Ted Cruz

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

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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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