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Posts in "Ted Cruz"
September 26, 2014
In a preview of what Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire can expect to see a lot of over the next year, Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul reached out to conservatives at the annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on Friday.
While neither Cruz nor Paul have officially announced a bid for the Republican nomination, both speeches laid out the fundamentals for a presidential run.
For Paul, it was allaying the concerns of many in the religious right that the Kentucky Republican is too libertarian for their Christian beliefs.
“Where there is liberty, there is always plenty of space for God,” Paul said, drawing on Corinthians 3:17, which states, “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Paul said America was in a “full-blown crisis — a spiritual crisis,” and he said the nation’s moral compass was “wavering.”
“Those of us who love freedom must realize that freedom is not a license to do as you please,” he said. “Freedom can only be realized when citizens know self-restraint, or, put another way, virtue.” Full story
September 10, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz is launching an effort to push the House into a continuing resolution that funds the government into the next Congress.
“It would be a serious mistake for House Republicans to pass a Continuing Resolution that would ensure that Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats would come back to Washington, after many of them will have likely lost their seats, for a no-holds barred lame duck session where they will be free to pass legislation that the American people will never be able to hold them responsible for,” the Texas Republican said in a statement provided to CQ Roll Call.
“Americans cannot trust politicians they can no longer hold accountable at the ballot box,” Cruz said. “The Continuing Resolution should, at a minimum, fund government operations until after the new Congress is sworn in next year; House and Senate Republicans should both insist on this basic principle.”
The statement followed a letter sent by Cruz and Lee to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledging to object to consent requests to move on more contentious proposals in the lame duck.
September 9, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that if a band of Republicans press for language blocking executive actions on immigration, they’re inviting a government shutdown.
“If I have anything to do with it? No, no, no,” the Nevada Democrat said of allowing a vote on such a proposal, as sought by a group of Senate and House conservatives led on the Senate side by Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions and Mike Lee.
Asked what happens if the senators insist on considering it as part of the continuing resolution debate that’s expected next week, Reid pointed to a risk government funding could lapse.
July 31, 2014
Updated, 9:32 p.m. | Two southern Republican senators — Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas — played outsized roles sinking border supplemental bills on both sides of the Capitol as they demanded a push to end President Barack Obama’s “administrative amnesty.”
Sessions had ripped the House’s border bill as “surrender” to Obama’s plans to reportedly grant deportation relief and work permits to as many as five million more people in the country illegally. And Cruz rallied Republicans to back his legislation aimed at “stopping President Obama’s amnesty.”
Asked Thursday evening about his influence over House members, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I’ve been very clear on my views about what the key issues are. The president’s stunning declaration that he’s going to issue a massive amnesty requires Congress to appropriately respond. I think the best way to do that is through the power of the purse and so I just felt that — and I’ve been clear about it so the House members will make up their own mind.”
When pressed on whether he lobbied the Alabama delegation about the House bill, Sessions told CQ Roll Call, “I told them how I felt.” Full story
July 28, 2014
There’s a chance at least some of the ambassadors caught in a legislative holding pattern might be confirmed before the August recess.
While the process of filling the diplomatic corps has been slow in the aftermath of the “nuclear option” standoff last fall, Sen. Ted Cruz said Monday that he had withdrawn his more recent objection.
The Texas Republican had placed a hold on State Department nominees — a move with limited utility in the post-nuclear Senate where Democrats can break filibusters without any GOP votes. Cruz had placed the hold because of last week’s brief Federal Aviation Administration ban on flights by U.S. carriers to Tel Aviv, Israel.
June 10, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz’s staff appeared to be in a celebratory mood Tuesday after Eric Cantor’s shocking loss Tuesday night, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
— Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) June 11, 2014
Is DC Listening yet? #MakeDCListen
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) June 11, 2014
Cruz has frequently been a thorn in House GOP leadership’s side, even recently consorting with ForAmerica, a group headed by Brent Bozell, which as explicitly called for Cantor and the rest of the leadership to be tossed overboard for months.
Cruz, who has taken to having secret meetings with small groups of mutiny-minded House conservatives and helped torch GOP leadership’s immigration principles earlier this year, appeared on a conference call with Bozell in April.
May 12, 2014
A senator is vocally contesting the inclusion of a project in his home state in the 2014 ”Congressional Pig Book.”
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, issued a statement over the weekend touting his effort to preserve (and in fact increase) funding for the East-West Center, a cultural and education exchange center established by Congress in 1960 that’s based in Honolulu.
“For years, the State Department tried to eliminate the center by not requesting funding in the department’s annual budget requests,” the group Citizens Against Government Waste said in the “Pig Book.”
April 28, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz said Secretary of State John Kerry should offer his resignation to President Barack Obama — and the president should accept it — for reportedly saying behind closed doors that Israel was on the path of becoming an “apartheid” state if it doesn’t agree to a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians.
“Secretary Kerry has long experience in foreign policy and he understands that words matter,” the Texas Republican said on the Senate floor. “Apartheid is inextricably associated with one of the worst examples of state-sponsored discrimination in history. … There is no place for this word in the context of the state of Israel.” Full story
April 24, 2014
A group of 22 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged President Barack Obama not to proceed with another plan to limit deportations of immigrants here illegally.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is reviewing immigration policy on Obama’s orders, with an eye toward limiting deportations that break up families — and as an immigration overhaul effort has stalled in the House.
“According to reports, the changes under consideration would represent a near complete abandonment of basic immigration enforcement and discard the rule of law and the notion that the United States has enforceable borders,” the letter said. “Clearly, the urgent task facing your administration is to improve immigration enforcement, not to look for new ways to weaken it.” Full story
March 24, 2014
A bill to provide aid to Ukraine cleared a procedural vote Monday evening, as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, signaled he would not object to expediting the bill if he gets a vote on an amendment striking the International Monetary Fund provision.
But Senate Democrats may not have an incentive to allow any amendments votes on the bill given that they likely have the 60 votes needed to clear any procedural hurdles. If both sides stand their ground, that would mean the Senate would likely next vote around midnight Tuesday.
“Its silly that we are running the [cloture] clock when we got 78 votes” to advance the bill, said a senior Senate Democratic aide. Full story
March 14, 2014
Updated 7:22 p.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz no longer has a 100 percent rating on Heritage Action for America’s scorecard — he just may not know it yet.
While Heritage Action didn’t send out a press release like it normally does warning members and the press that it was key voting the flood insurance bill in the Senate, the group told CQ Roll Call it is including the vote on its official scorecard.
Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler told CQ Roll Call that the reason the key vote hadn’t showed up online, and the reason Cruz still has a 100 percent score, is that the “hamsters” hadn’t updated the site yet.
“We’ll get the scores up and running sooner than Healthcare.gov is running,” Holler said. Full story
March 13, 2014
Sen. John McCain hammered Republicans on the Senate floor Thursday for refusing to pass by unanimous consent a Senate Foreign Relation Committee bill which would provide economic aid while imposing sanctions on Russia.
“What has happened? Where are our priorities? You can call yourself Republicans, that’s fine, because that’s your voter registration. Don’t call yourself Reagan Republicans,” the Arizona Republican said.
March 7, 2014
Sen. John McCain said Friday he told Sen. Ted Cruz that the Texas Republican’s criticism of former Majority Leader Bob Dole in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference crossed a line.
In an interview on MSNBC, McCain said he confronted Cruz on the Senate floor about the freshman’s CPAC comments from Thursday, in which Cruz called out Dole, McCain and Mitt Romney — the party’s last three unsuccessful presidential nominees.
“I spoke to Ted Cruz — he and I have a cordial relationship — about this, and he can say what he wants about me, and he can say anything he wants to, I think, about Mitt,” the Arizona Republican said. “But when he throws Bob Dole in there, I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on that hilltop in Italy when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his body there fighting for our country? Bob Dole is such a man of honor and integrity and principle.”
March 4, 2014
Sen. Mitch McConnell has long coveted the chance to be Senate majority leader, and while he could get the job come 2015, it may be more than he bargained for.
The Kentucky Republican and current minority leader could end up with the narrowest of majorities, with tea party firebrands such as Ted Cruz of Texas holding the power to sink, for example, a Republican budget blueprint if they aren’t satisfied.
It would be similar to the scenario faced by Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, whose fractious conference has repeatedly revolted against and thwarted House leadership’s agenda.
On most issues in the Senate, of course, 60 votes are still needed and that means working with Democrats. McConnell has said repeatedly that he would run a more open Senate and would seek to restore some semblance of regular order. If he only has 51 Republicans, he’ll have to corral his conference and nine or 10 Democratic votes each week to advance legislation. And that need for bipartisanship is sure to put stresses on his party’s internal dynamics.
Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt, who has served in GOP leadership on both sides of the Rotunda, said the party would face a test of whether it’s ready to govern.
“There are some things like the budget that 51 Republicans in the Senate would have to vote for,” the Missouri Republican said. “That [and] how we use our committees would be two of the big tests of whether we are ready to be a governing party or not, and I think it’s something we ought to be thinking about just in case the majority does happen.”
Republicans could try to nullify the health care law through budget reconciliation rather than by threatening another government shutdown, for example. But drafting a budget that gets 51 votes would be the toughest challenge — especially if McConnell doesn’t have a vote to spare.
Blunt is one of many Republicans contrasting how McConnell would run the Senate with the current Democratic rule under Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
“No. 1, I hope we’ve learned the lessons of what happens when you don’t do the business the right way,” he said. “Second, the times that Republicans did lead the House and Senate, there was a budget and the appropriations bills generally came to the floor one at a time, and all came to the floor in some form to be debated and amended.”
That could help Republicans attract Democratic votes to advance legislation, although it won’t necessarily close the sharp split over tactics between McConnell and Cruz and others in the GOP base.
Operating in the minority, Republicans fractured over the tactic championed by Cruz of tying the funding of the government to defunding Obamacare. McConnell, notably, cut the deal to reopen the government.
“The tactical choices you make can actually help your chances or hurt your chances. Shutting down the government to defund Obamacare was a tactical mistake. We’ve overcome that,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Cruz later feuded with McConnell, as the Texas Republican forced his fellow GOP senators to walk the plank on the debt limit.
Cruz senior communications adviser and speechwriter Amanda Carpenter said in a recent interview with CQ Roll Call that she didn’t envision her boss changing course.
“He’s said before, ‘I don’t trust Republicans, I don’t trust Democrats.’ He’s still going try to do the things he set out to do. The goal of being in the Senate isn’t just to be the guy with the most people on your team. It’s to fix it,” Carpenter said.
Other senior Republicans acknowledged the balancing act McConnell would face. The challenge would be to balance the desires of the conservative base with trying to operate a functional chamber.
“We won’t have 60,” noted Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who is in line to be Armed Services chairman in a GOP-led Senate. ”One of the things I know for a fact because I’ve got the commitment for Sen. McConnell is that we will take up bills in the regular order, and we will do as we did for years.”
The party also has to focus on what’s achievable, suggested Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota.
“You can’t set unrealistic expectations,” Thune said, adding that it’s something the party has been guilty of previously. “You have to define your reality, and the reality will be, even if we win the majority, is that we will be working with a Democratic president for the next couple of years who has a veto pen.”
In a recent interview with The New York Times, McConnell opened the door to reversing November’s “nuclear” rules change, though that would be a postelection debate.
“The Senate can be returned to the place of great debates, contentious debates, but where you can still get outcomes on things where you have at least 60 senators,” McConnell said.
“I definitely think that there is support for what I would consider to be regular order, which is moving to approps bills,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. “When we are to assume that [majority], we are going to have some different faces, different folks. So, you take every session as it comes.”
Thune conceded that keeping the conference unified would be a challenge and there could be more disputes like the one over defunding Obamacare. But he said that having the majority is a “very different scenario.”
“In the minority you are reacting all the time, and in most cases you are trying to put up a defense against what the other side is trying to do. But when you are calling the plays and setting the agenda, I think there is more of a, I hope, more of a buy-in to what the goals are. If we have gotten the buy-in and gotten everybody invested, taking ownership of what we want to achieve, then I think it gets easier to get people together, but we will see.”
February 27, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz declined to say whether he would vote for his fellow Texan, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, in next week’s Republican primary, despite Cruz’s avowed affection for the state’s senior senator.
“I like John Cornyn,” Cruz said Thursday in a Politico Playbook breakfast interview. “He and I have worked together very closely. We’ve agreed on the vast majority of things, there are some areas on which we disagree.”
Cruz said his decision not to disclose his choice in Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary — in which Rep. Steve Stockman is one of several challengers to Cornyn — stems from him not wanting to meddle in the primaries of sitting Republicans. But he said his decision is not iron clad and left open the possibility that he may still get involved in primaries this year.
“What I have said is that I am likely going to stay out of incumbent Republican primaries,” Cruz said. “I haven’t put that in concrete.”
Asked why he hedged, Cruz said, “Because things can change in politics.” Full story