September 26th, 2013
06:57 PM ET
7 months ago

Conservative clash: Cruz vs Corker

Washington (CNN) – The intraparty war of words between Senate Republicans was on full view on Thursday.

Two tea party-backed senators clashed with a more mainstream conservative over whether to hold final votes either Thursday night or Friday on Obamacare and a controversial spending bill.

In one corner, was Sen. Bob Corker who warned the delay would keep the GOP-controlled House from amending the bill and sending it back to the Senate before Monday's deadline for the government to run out of money.

He accused his fellow senators of holding up the legislation so they could attract additional publicity.

"It's my understanding," Corker said, "that my two colleagues, who I respect, have sent out e-mails around the world and turned this into a show possibly, and, therefore, they want people around the world to watch, maybe them and others, on the Senate floor and that is taking priority over getting the legislation back to the House."

In the other corner were Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah who accused Corker of siding with Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid by voting for procedural motions – known in Senate parlance as "cloture" - that would allow Democrats ultimately to strip language from the bill that would defund the healthcare reform law.

"The senator from Tennessee says a vote in favor of cloture is a vote in favor of the House bill and in favor of defunding Obamacare," Cruz responded, standing just a few feet away from Corker on the Senate floor.  "If that's the case, then the question I would pose to my friend from Tennessee, why is Majority Leader Harry Reid going to vote the same way you're proposing to vote?  Why is every Democrat in this chamber going to vote the way you're proposing?"

The rare public clash highlighted the stark differences between the wings of the Republican Party in the Senate.

While most are conservative, some, like Cruz and Lee, want to push the ideological envelope even if it risks a government shutdown or default on the debt.  Others, like Corker, regularly work across the aisle on contentious issues like immigration, foreign policy, and fiscal issues.

Earlier this week, Cruz, Lee and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, led a non-stop speech on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours that was aimed at defunding Obamacare.  The move ruffled many other Senate Republicans who considered the move a stunt that would do little to change Obamacare.

In the end, the three senators voted in favor of the very motion they had filibustered, which Corker bluntly noted.

"This would be an unusual time in the Senate.  I don't think ever we've had in the Senate where we had a 21-hour filibuster and then the person carrying out the filibuster voted for the issue they were filibustering," Corker said.  "I don't think that's happened in the history of our country."

Cruz said Croker misunderstood the relevance of his vote and that he intended to vote to filibuster the bill on a second procedural vote, which is now planned for Friday afternoon.

As to insisting the vote take place Friday instead of Thursday night, a spokesman for Cruz issued a statement saying the senator wanted the vote to be "out in the full light of day."

"America will be watching closely which senators vote to allow Democrats to fully fund Obamacare, and the vote should be carried out in the open for all to see," said Cruz spokesman Sean Rushton.


Filed under: Bob Corker • Senate • Ted Cruz
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. boungiorno

    i see it like this weather dem or repub or lib GET A PLAN THATS LOGICAL! We can all get on with our lives.

    September 26, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  2. DoremusJ

    Extremists like Cruz and Lee are destroying what's left of the Republican Party.

    September 26, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    The Tea Party will be the end of the GOP. But that's what they get for welcoming those evil, racist types. As I've always heard, you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    The Dems thank you!

    September 26, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Cruz's mobsters will start calling Corker now and threaten him. Cruz has learned a lot about third world tactics.

    September 26, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. shhhhh.........boom

    The sound of the republican party entering it's death throes....

    September 26, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Norma Vessels

    Yes, we're watching, Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio .. we're watching two men who don't give two cents for the feelings of most Americans. That's the whole problem. All you do is grand-stand. Most of Americans, me included, are totally put out by your lack of fair play .. along with most of the Republicans in the House and Senate, too. I hope every one of you lose your seats in the House and the Senate the next time you run for re-election. I hope to goodness you have to pack up your gold wrist watch, you diamond rings, your expensive brief case and all your fancy clothes, and take a long ride home in defeat!

    September 26, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. Aaron

    Why won't the tea party just go away : /

    September 26, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  8. Steve S

    The Tea Party members are clueless on how a government works to run a country.

    September 26, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  9. ASouthernMan

    Cruz spent 21 hours explaining the strategy, plus last week also . So how is it that CNN keeps missing this. Because same as Corker, they want to mislead people who did not watch/listen to what Cruz had to say about the vote .

    September 26, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  10. soda

    you go Cruz!.. bout time we get someone in government that cares about what the people think

    September 26, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. American Worker

    It's a clash between the takers and those who are standing up for those being fleeced.

    The worst 'Job Killing' law ever enacted seems to be the ACA.

    We're losing the gains that our labor unions fought for: 40 hour work weeks, fair pay, safe working conditions (Over worked now with multiple part-time jobs.), and work benefits. The union bosses have become the foremen of Uncle Sam's Plantation.

    September 26, 2013 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  12. Winston Smith

    Rid the system of both. Neither are needed.

    September 26, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Cruz , Paul , Rubio

    The Three Stooges 2016
    Aqua Buddha Brothers

    September 27, 2013 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  14. loyalright

    It's so much fun watching the GOP Democrat lap dogs defend what most Americans do not want. At least there are a few true American Patriots like Cruz and Lee that will stand up for the tax payers of this country and put self interest behind.

    September 27, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  15. Bill

    Corker won't make the mistake of trying to debate Cruz again. He got owned. You can see why Cruz was national debate champion. Definitely worth watching on YouTube.

    September 27, 2013 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  16. Matt

    Oh Republican party. Why do you continue to drift to the right of me.

    September 27, 2013 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  17. joe gonzales jr

    Pure dumb tactics.

    September 27, 2013 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  18. Name

    Cruz – Lee – Rubio – all three are AMATEURS! Tea party supporters are all AMATEURS!

    September 27, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Name calling and labeling are the tactics used by the pols without a ligitament argument . We see through all the bull shit of both parties!! The old generation of pols need to be voted out, taking their outmoded philosophie, corporate kissing, self-serving policies with them. We're do not approve of support either party for these very reasons.

    September 27, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  20. kirk

    Yes we will Cruz, hope you enjoyed your first and last term

    September 27, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |