House Republicans question Cruz’s Obamacare-defunding fervor
September 18th, 2013
09:26 PM ET
11 months ago

House Republicans question Cruz’s Obamacare-defunding fervor

Washington (CNN) – Republicans in the House of Representatives expressed outrage with one of their compatriots on the other side of the Capitol Wednesday, questioning whether or not Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is really all-in on defunding Obamacare or if he’s trying to put all the onus of defunding the bill on the House.

The House outrage stems directly from a statement from Cruz and fellow GOP stalwarts against Obamacare in the Senate, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee. In it, Cruz said Senate Republicans simply don’t have the votes necessary to keep defunding language in the continuing resolution to fund the government after Oct. 1. Republicans have been attempting to push a bill that would fund the rest of the government while defunding the health care law, a bill Democrats have vowed to fight.

“(Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in the statement.

“At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people. President Obama has already granted Obamacare exemptions to big corporations and Members of Congress; he should not threaten to shut down the government just to deny those same exemptions to hard-working American families.”

The idea that Republicans don’t have the votes to defund Obamacare is not new from Cruz. He’s spent the summer trying to build a “tsunami” of grass-roots outrage against the Affordable Care Act, arguing that such a movement would be the only way to kill President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

The reaction from House Republicans and senior GOP leadership aides to Cruz’s latest statement on the matter was swift and angry, both about Cruz’s lack of confidence in a vote and his urging of the House to “stand firm.”

“They said nothing is impossible if you fight hard enough, and the minute the House announces the vote, they give up the fight? It's crazy," one senior GOP leadership aide told CNN.

"They should walk the walk," the aide said, predicting it would backfire on the conservative senators.

Another senior GOP leadership aide took a shot at Cruz declining to say whether he would filibuster the bill, telling CNN, "It is disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz," in reference to the state senate Democrat who filibustered an abortion bill in the Texas legislature over the summer.

Cruz's Texas GOP colleague, Rep. Blake Farenthold, said he hasn't seen the statement but heard a lot of grumbling from House Republicans on the chamber floor about it Wednesday night.

“We gave them what they asked for; I was more hopeful they would be more positive about it and fight for it," Farenthold said.

Farenthold praised Cruz as one of the most articulate legislators on the Hill and issued a challenge: "I think this a great opportunity for him to go to the Senate floor and win over some votes. Let's see him do the Rand Paul filibuster. He can do it, and I think he'll do a good job," Farenthold said.

The Texas delegation has a regular lunch on Thursdays, and Farenthold said he hopes Cruz shows up tomorrow so they can discuss strategy.

Cruz vowed late Wednesday night on Fox News that he and Sen. Lee "are going to fight with every breath in our body."

"Today I think is a victory for the speaker. And indeed, I would make a plea today to the 46 Senate Republicans that today is the day for party unity that every Senate republican should stand with Republicans in the House, should stand with conservatives and should stand with the American people," he said on Fox's "Hannity."

Lee, who joined Cruz on the show, said after the House passes the bill, it goes to the Senate and at that point, "we have to watch out for a few things."

"First of all, we have to look out for those who will say that once we have had a vote in the House or perhaps once we have had a vote in the Senate that that's it. That's all we need. A vote equals a victory. There is a difference between a vote and a victory," he said.

"And we have to remember that this will not be either won or lost with a single legislative volley from one side of the capitol to the other," he cautioned. "This, like so many other big legislative debates might well take several volleys between House and Senate."

Lee added that he and Cruz "intend" to stand with their House counterparts in trying to defund Obamacare.

Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin took to Twitter to tweak Cruz, Rubio and Lee, referring to a message from a reporter about the their original statement and tweeting "so far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something. . . RT ..."

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner was more muted in his response. “We trust that Republicans in the Senate would put up a fight worthy of the challenge Obamacare poses,” Michael Steel said.

Cruz aide Sean Rushton stood up for his boss when asked for comment on the GOP ire. A filibuster of Obamacare still hasn’t been ruled out, Rushton said. “All options are on the table,” he said.

In a statement, Rushton continued, “The ball is in Harry Reid's court. Reid has the votes ONLY IF Republicans don't stand strong. Sen. Cruz will continue working to win the argument with both his colleagues and the American people.”

CNN’s Dana Bash and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.


Filed under: Health care • Ted Cruz
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. 4mirrorlogic

    END District Gerrymandering. End political Grid-Lock. Go with Gridded-Districts.

    Congressional Gridded-Districts Rock!

    The way to fix America's political grid lock is to move away from the crazy Gerrymandering jigsaw redistricting that leads to primary run-offs ruled only by the extreme elements winning.

    Support the movement for using Grid-Districts.

    A political system based on purely squared districts driven by population density, not political manipulation, that resolves many of the extreme politics America is facing. No more just Democrats or Republican hand-drawn lines, a fair system that mathematically puts the middle back into politics.

    September 18, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  2. Gary

    Why is it when we hear of Republican stupidity, the same 3 names keep popping up. Well, maybe 5 if you count Mc Senile and his butt buddy Grahamm

    September 18, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. Winston Smith

    Let's see, could it all be nothing but political ambition coupled with arrogance, ignorance and a talent for stirring up those that really haven't a clue, nor suspect. They just don't like the plan because it's not a republican idea. Oxymoron: Republican and idea used in the same sentence.

    September 18, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  4. anotherGDlefty

    Raphael is a nut.
    Will Raphael refuse to keep his cadillac coverage exemption or will he admit it's a lie and Congress is NOT exempt after all and must participate?
    Keep talking Raphael, you are doing more destruction to the GOP than any dem could ever hope to.

    September 18, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    Keep digging those heels in guys!!

    September 18, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  6. Mightyduk

    There afraid of loosing their tax payer paid health care period.

    September 18, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. Ron L

    OK...America, it looks like the positions have been taken and if there is no change between now and the 30th. Here is whats going to happen...On the first of October the government will begin the process of shutting down. The stock market will drop 400 to 600 points on the 1st, it will drop another 400 to 500 points of the 2nd; Moody's will give the U.S. a credit rating of B+ dropping it from AA. The Republicans will attempt to blame the President and the President will rightfully say the Republicans are trying to destroy a healthcare plan that is the law of the land and he has no intention of delaying it or signing a bill that defunds it. If this goes on for 3-5 days the damage will be extensive and we will ALL pay the price. While I hate seeing this going on, I have to say if I were the President I would be standing firm on this principle as well. The ONLY reason people have such a low opinion of the Affordable Care Act is 8 to 12 Republicans have constantly said how horrible it will be because they HATE the government being involved in it. They could not care less about the people who are without any healthcare coverage other than emergency room care. They are incredibly insenstive to how difficult life is for the working poor in this nation. People seem to forget neither Social Security or Medicare was popular when they were implemented. Imagine how bad off some of the poor and elderly would be today without them. We are watching the potential self-destruction of America. Hold on America, it will probably get WORST before it gets better.

    September 18, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  8. Liz the First

    It's amazing how folks who call themselves pro-'life' think nothing of trying to take away life-saving insurance millions of Americans desperately need. the hypocrisy is mind-boggling. If a republican came up with something like it, they'd love it. oh, wait, one did... Romneycare!

    September 18, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Cephus

    Leave Obama healthcare alone if you are for the poor but if you are for insurance companies go for it at your own peril.

    September 18, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Cruz has done a lot of damage to our country. As a Canadian born Cuban, Fidel would be proud of him.

    September 18, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. CaliforniaAC

    Cruz is a foreign political terrorist from Canada by way of Texas who wants to bring our country down. We demand proof of citizenship from this Tea-Party Wacko.

    September 18, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. What's in that tea anyway?

    Right .....follow the idiot....perfect alignment with the philosophy of the Tea bags.

    September 18, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  13. billy

    Let's not shoot the messenger. We need to get busy and secure the votes we need to stop this. We constituents who elected these people to represent us, must tell them our views on the health care issue and to what end we are willing to stand behind them..This bill was passed in the middle of the night on Christmas eve with no bipartisan support. I believe Mr Cruz has been very outspoken and has made his views well known.He and his father have spoke at many public events His father has in fact gained some celebrity.

    September 18, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  14. MaryM

    Tea Party /Ted Cruz and et al

    Want to Shut down the government , paralyze the economy , diminish the power and the negotiating capability of the United States, and again destroy the full faith and credit of America.

    So Republicans in the house are threating again to shut down the government and NOT pay the bills that they have already authorized.

    Even the Wall Street Journal is calling this republican nonsense a kamikaze mission.

    September 18, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  15. jinx9to88

    LMAO!! Lets say it somehow gets past the House and Senate, how does it get past Obama? This is to funny.

    September 18, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  16. roro

    Who the heck does this Canadian born guy thinks he is?! He's been a Texas (of course ) senator for a few months and he thinks he's running the show. Tell me, Mr. Cruz, what legislation have you passed? What good have you done for this country? How many citizens have you helped? Any good Christian knows that Jesus loved the poor. What have you done to help the working poor? In fact, have you done anything at all except rile up the fringe to defund a law of the land that was backed up by the Supreme Court? Do you care nothing for those who need healthcare? After all you now have a pension and cadillac healthcare for yourself for the rest of your life, while millions in our country are trying to figure out whether they can eat or pay the rent. YOU ARE A DISGRACE!!!

    September 18, 2013 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. Evergreen

    Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Focus on passing a job's bill to help build a stronger economy and put people back to work. That will solve the majority of this country's problems.

    September 19, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  18. Concerned citizen

    Go back to Canada or Cuba; your choice!

    September 19, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. Michael Benjamin

    Cruz landed in the Senate acting like Godzilla. No one likes him, he has no friends. Cruz is a pariah, other than Lee, Paul and possibly Rubio Cruz he has no support. Just a loud mouthed bomb thrower ala Newt Gingrich.

    September 19, 2013 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  20. J.V.Hodgson

    I want cruz and his allies in the house and senate to go ahead do it shut the gov down.
    Surest way to lose even so called safe or gerrymandered seats in 2014.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    September 19, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  21. boon

    Please proceed Republicans.

    September 19, 2013 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  22. Marie MD

    I question the idi ots who voted for this Canadian born rafael macarthy/helms cruz who thinks he can be president of the US.
    I question why the repugs don't put a lid on him and keep him hidden until election day when he will probably be voted in again because the people of Texas have no common sense.
    I question why he thinks that after 40 failed tries to repeal a LAW he still thinks it can be done.
    I just question why somebody like this lunatic is allowed to serve in congress!! A padded cell seems a better venue for him.

    September 19, 2013 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  23. Name carl

    Senator Ted Cruz is crazy. Shame on the Republicans. Lots of folks like the Affordable health care law. Republicans hands off SOCIAL SECURITY AND MRDICARE.

    September 19, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Guns Over People tea potty now think that loose cannon Rapheal Cruz's cajones are smaller than Wendy Davis'. Priceless. They know that he has been "raising" money from the goobers with his Obamacare hustle.

    September 19, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  25. M.A.P.

    Heathcare is a universal right. It is more important than owning a gun. Everyone should be able to see a doctor when they need to. Everyone should be able to afford treatment for diseases that are treatable. Republicans don't care about people at all. they care about their own bank accounts and nothing else. PIGS. Hillary 2016!

    September 19, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
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