September 19th, 2013
01:59 PM ET
12 months ago

Cruz tries to make amends with angry conservatives

Washington (CNN) - It's a typical love story. Man loves his party. Party follows man. Man makes misstep. Man tries to make up for his indiscretion.

In this case, the man is freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a crusader of the defund-Obamacare movement. His misstep put at risk the political future of many in his party. After House Republicans jumped on his bandwagon to risk government shutdown in exchange for defunding the health care law, he indicated on Wednesday that their risky transaction might be useless.

"(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.

That peeved Republicans in the House, especially those who are reluctantly moving forward with the maneuver.

"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.

House Republicans question Cruz’s Obamacare-defunding fervor

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 ..."

Now he's trying to make amends. He said he wants "to commend" members of the House and Republican leadership "for sticking their neck out" on the issue.

Cruz's Texas GOP colleague Rep. Blake 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.

Cruz promised to do "everything necessary and everything possible to defund Obamacare."

Republican leadership, meanwhile, is attempting to disguise the fissure that has once again emerged between the more mainstream members and the more conservative.

"The Republicans, by their very nature, are a bit more independent than our colleagues across the aisle. I've seen that from the day I got here," House Speaker John Boehner said.

Boehner is reluctantly moving forward with the plan to tie health care funding with government funding. He – and other Republicans – have said in the past that it's a losing battle. But by deciding to hold a vote on the measure Friday, the conservative faction of his party has been effective.

"[T]he debate in the House has been settled," Boehner said. Obamacare "is a train wreck and it's going to raise costs, it's destroying American jobs and it must go," Boehner said, dismissing any disagreement within the ranks.

Democrats exploit Republican fissures

While the Republican Party is split on how to move forward on the health care bill they find loathsome, Democrats are exploiting the discord.

"I never thought I would ever come to the floor of the United States Senate to quote Karl Rove," Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois said. He quoted an op-ed Rove wrote for Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

"Independent voters, those who don't declare for either political party across America, think that the Tea Party strategy is disastrous," Durbin said citing Rove. "And he warned the Republican Party that if you are not careful you are going to push those independents over on to the democratic side."

Reid also seized the opportunity. "It would be good political theater to watch them self-destruct, and that is what they are doing, if there were not so much at stake," he said on the Senate floor.

"The economic consequences of a government shutdown are deadly serious."

Cruz, meanwhile, attempted to spin his statement from yesterday into a more direct, partisan challenge. He placed the onus on Reid. "The ball now moves to the Senate and Harry Reid," he said.

He also put pressure on his Republican Senate colleagues who think his idea is a bad one.

He called on "every Senate Republican to stand shoulder to shoulder" with the defund-Obamacare supporters.

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Dana Bash, Ted Barrett and Bryan Koenig.


Filed under: Health care • Ted Cruz
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I love it. He's gotta answer to the Thought Police.

    I find it ironically hypocritical how conservatives complain about the individual mandate, whining about how the government is forcing you to buy something. Actually, it's pathetic to listen to, particularly those from states with hot climates that *require* you to have functioning air-conditioning in your residence.

    September 19, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. rs

    You have to love the hypocracy of the GOP. "We have to de-fund Obamacare because that's what people want". The truth is only 24% of those polled want the ACA de-funded. Careful now, GOP. 90% of Americans want more thorough background checks on guns. You (well, the NRA through you) say, "we don't run this nation on public opinion". Please- don't whine that you don't belive in polls- you don't believe in Science or evolution or climate change either.

    Which is it boys? Law based on public opinion, or not?

    Meanwhile, know this- you may be committing political suicide- don't expect the nation to go with you.

    September 19, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "It's a typical love story. Man loves his party. Party follows man. Man makes misstep. Man tries to make up for his indiscretion."

    At the risk of sounding too partisan, the above quote from this article is a load of ... well, you know.

    Indescretion, CNN? Dude's using the United States government as hostage for his personal fundraising campaign.

    WOW. Just wow.

    September 19, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Not everyone is willing to jump off the cliff with Sen. Rafael. Too bad for the entire party that he's "YOUR" guy and your stuck with him. If you republicans want to play chicken with our economy, be prepared to reap the whirlwind.

    September 19, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. rs

    Why to we call the nutjobs of the Right "conservatives"?

    They aren't really- they are simply the John Birch Society crowd on steroids. They hate everything and everyone. They're economic policy vacsilates between Nihilism and raw chaos. They are anti-democtratic- looking to take away the rights of millions. They want to inflate the debt and defict (something defunding the ACA will cause).

    Bill Buckley- a Conservative. Nelson Rockefeler-Conservative. Dwight D. Eisenhower-Conservative. Ted Cruz? Crazy man.

    September 19, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Mark

    I find it interesting the conservatives are using the fact that employers are forcing their employees onto the exchanges as a bad thing. On the exchanges the individual now has to take more PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for their health care choices because now they have more choices. And now insurance companies have to compete for the individual. Now the flip side may be that individuals do not have the negotiating power that a large company does.

    September 19, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    I'm adding a third last name to Rafael McCarthy/helms/hitler Cruz.
    Being a great orator but evil might not be what you want to shout to the whole world when this imbecile would rather shut down the government and have thousands unemployed and millions without federal help. Let's see what happens if a monster hurricane hits a southern state it's only September). Where's the money from the Feds and where's the manpower going to come from?
    This guy is NOT even American. He is Canadian and they are following him to the precipice. What's next? They'll all jump? Now that I think please proceed tea tards.

    September 19, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Loose cannon Rapheal Cruz made the huge mistake of telling the truth to the Guns Over People tea potty. They live in FoxLies land. They still think that Mitt the twit almost won on Nov 6.

    September 19, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    And the circus continues.......

    September 19, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Bill

    One-term Teddy! What a complete loser. Thanks goodness he will be gone after his first and only term in the Senate.

    September 19, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. MaryM

    Ted McCarthy Cruz, Your days are numbered. Everyone knows your calling for the shutdown of the U.S. Government shines a Big light on you and the Republican party., If the government does shut down, You will get the blame along with your Teapublican party. bye bye McCarthy Cruz

    September 19, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. tom l

    @Marie
    "This guy is NOT even American. He is Canadian and they are following him to the precipice. What's next? They'll all jump? Now that I think please proceed tea tards."

    Why isn't he an American? His mother is an American.

    @The Real Tom Paine:
    I don't think Marie is mocking the right here whatsoever. This comment is exactly what I'm talking about. It's bigoted however it's against a Canadien so it's perfectly okay. Do see the idiocy/hatred/vitriol here? Because this man has a different point of view he is viewed as "evil". Ahhhhh, the open minded left....not.

    September 19, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Boehner is reluctantly moving forward with the plan to tie health care funding with government funding. "

    Oh really? Is that why he said THIS today?

    "The fight here has been won" [referring to the House GOP/Teatrolls' plan to pass the ultimatum legislation]. "The fight over there is just beginning," Boehner said. "I expect my Senate colleagues to do everything they can to stop this law. It's time for them to pick up the mantle and get the job done."

    Seems he's all for the threat to shut down the gov't now, but you're running whitewash articles to help defend him?

    September 19, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Michael

    Where was all of the GOP outrage when Romney enacted what was basically the same plan? Where is the GOP alternative? They want to defund the ACA just because the POTUS signed it? The ACA, as originally written was a good idea – it was a specific group of people that added all the poison in hopes of the law becoming unpalatable. How'd that work out? The ACA is the law of the land. The SCOTUS has deemed it constitutional. Deal with it. In the US it should be a crime that people don't have basic services or access to health care. This is not about taking away choice – the exact opposite. It is also about reducing fear ... what is going to happen if a formerly uninsured has to go to the ER? Again, GOP ... where's your alternative?

    September 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. James Napoli

    Do everything necessary to defund the ACA? Not really, they have no health plan. The party of NO never offers a solution.

    September 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. ROSIE

    Conservatives hate liberals but defend the most LIBERAL Constitution ever written. Sound crazy? It is.

    September 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Mark

    That's the problem with our Congressmen, they feel they have to apologize for taking a stand or expressing an opinion.

    September 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Because this man has a different point of view he is viewed as "evil". "

    Aaaw, how cute, you mischaracterize and gloss-over yet again. He's not evil for disagreeing. He's evil for his behavior, his threats, the means he seeks to use in order to gain his ends AND FOR THE SUBSTANCE OF HIS POSITIONS....not simply for having a different view. It's what that view IS that marks him as a self-serving, plutocrat wh-re.

    September 19, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. stewart

    defund the congress!!

    September 19, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Cruz is doing nothing more than playing to the base for his re-election: I honestly don't think he cares about the Tea Party, or the ACA, or anything other than what benefits him. He has an extreme-right-wing base that will eat up anything he says, except for when he tells them the votes are not there for their factasy of repealing the ACA: then he is stuck with the task of making up to them. The Independents will break for the Democrats on this one, and it will ahve repurcussions in 2014. Districts that were not in play in the House will be in play because if this incredibly stupid mistake, so people had better get used to the idea of Speaker Pelosi once again. Mitch McConnell can kiss his chance of being Majority leader in teh Seate good bye as well, since only the blinkered idiot ( just sayin, hector slagg, etc.) would believe that this will somehow be blown back onto the Democrats.

    September 19, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. rs

    The ever rightward spin-out of the GOP continues. At some point the party as a whole has to stop and figure out just what it is they stand for. "Crazy" doesn't count.

    September 19, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "The party of NO never offers a solution."

    That's because the very heart of their final solution is "nothing." They want everyone to believe that if we just have the gov't do nothing whatsoever, everything will click right into place and work out just fine "because freedom"...as if that explains everything.

    September 19, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. ritmocojo

    Joseph MaCarthy reincarnated.

    September 19, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. LINDA OPERLE

    Let the Government shut down. It's one more reason the american people will vote these useless people out in 2014. To even bring this defunding to the table shows the same tired tactics we've been dealing with for years. They know the President and Dems will never work with them unless they come up with something that has a real cahnce of passing but continue to put this garbage out there instead of something workable they are all great at wasting everyones time for what in the end will go nowhere.

    September 19, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Boo

    What I want to know is who votes for these Republicans??????

    September 19, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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