Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting
October 3rd, 2013
12:01 PM ET
7 months ago

Ted Cruz gets pushback during closed-door meeting

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz got a lot of pushback from Republican colleagues during a closed-door meeting questioning his relentless effort to tie government funding to derailing Obamacare.

"Cruz was completely unapologetic about the ads that he is featured in on the Senate Conservatives Fund website that attack other Republicans. He sees himself as the only truly pure Republican. His colleagues are furious. He has no successful strategy but has managed to generate grass roots support for his position," one senior Republican source at Wednesday's meeting told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Cruz has urged Republicans in the House to stand firm and continue pushing any plan to fund the government to proposals aimed at curtailing the Affordable Care Act.

This summer, he appeared in ads produced by the Senate Conservatives Fund urging Republicans to push Congress to defund Obamacare.

This strategy has upset Senate Republicans and some House GOP members because some privately blame the freshman Texas lawmaker for causing the shutdown and boxing House Speaker John Boehner into a corner.

Cruz's spokesman did not have a response to reports of pushback during the Wednesday meeting. Cruz told Politico the media loves to cover internal Republican disagreements and "apparently some senators are content to fuel those stories with anonymous quotes."

Cruz also was unapologetic talking to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham earlier Wednesday.

"We've had now three times, the House has endeavored to pass compromise bills that would keep the government funded, but at the same time would start to address the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people. And three times, Harry Reid has said 'no, absolutely not, I will not talk, I will not compromise, I will not do anything – no.' And as long as he maintains that absolutist position, both Reid and President Obama have said they won't even sit down to talk. They want a shutdown," he said.

At a previous meeting of Senate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins spoke about some of the ads in Maine that said she was not conservative enough, blaming Cruz for helping to divide the party.

During the Wednesday session, many senators spoke out and aimed their comments directly at Cruz, the GOP source told Borger.

While Cruz initially drew the anger of some Republicans weeks ago when the House passed the first bill to keep the government operating only if Obamacare was defunded because Democrats controlled the Senate, he then staged a 21-hour talkathon last week trying to prevent the Obamacare provision from being removed. He lost that effort but helped cement his stature with the Republican base.

That caused some Republicans to go public with their consternation.

Asked why Boehner can't bring up for consideration any bill he wants, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, told CNN Wednesday night that the "leadership made a decision to take the position that we are going to take the Ted Cruz strategy, and we are not going to fund the government until we get rid of Obamacare."

Nunes blames Cruz for causing the GOP not to have a choice and causing a shutdown.

"John Boehner said we'll take this Ted Cruz strategy. You guys went out for two months, made these commitments. We'll take it. We'll implement it. And now, here we are, it's fully implemented. ... I think Ted Cruz is one of the best politicians that's come around in a long time. He's able to rally the base, he's got a lot of money … There's a lot of consultants making money off this and lots of TV ads going on. The problem with it is, it's one thing to be good at politics. It's another thing to be not good at strategy."

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, has previously called Cruz "a fraud" for his promises of defunding Obamacare. But other Republicans are not backing away from Cruz, including Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who is scheduled to hold an event with the senator on Saturday.

For Democrats, there is little question of who is in fact leading the anti-Obamacare effort and are eager to highlight Cruz's efforts.

"Senator Cruz is now a joint speaker," Reid said Thursday on the Senate floor. "He lectures the House on occasion as he does people over here."

Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement regarding Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus: "I think he probably has Speaker Cruz Boehner's number somewhere."

– CNN's Kevin Bohn and Bryan Koenig contributed to this story.


Filed under: Congress • Government Shutdown • Ted Cruz
soundoff (508 Responses)
  1. jeff

    The only way this is going to end is if a more level-headed Republican with balls to stand up to the Tea party guns for the Speaker of the House with Democratic support. Ousting Boehner will fracture the GOP for a while but might save the country.

    October 3, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    @Todd: "I love the Republican strategy. Make the Democrats the party of NO. Isn't fun to be branded with your own name? Too bad! Democrats will have to explain why they won't fund parts of the government. I thank Ted Cruz for being my Senator."

    You can have him. Cruz is just another RWNJ and there's no amount of spin to hide that fact.

    BTW, the tea bags aren't in charge, and they don't get to pick and choose what parts of the government get funded. You can gerrymand districts all you want – the end of this bag of lunatics is coming soon.

    October 3, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Please proceed Senator...

    October 3, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. E. H.

    Time to get us back to work! Mr. Cruz...I suspect you'll be a one-term representative....and sent back to Texas on the horse you rode in on!

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. BobInIrvine

    "He has no successful strategy but has managed to generate grass roots support for his position..."

    Thus the pied piper, taking his followers off a cliff. Godspeed, Ted.

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Chris J.

    Screw the Republican Party. What the Republicans are doing now is even worse than what the Democrats did to George W. Bush. – A Republican in Texas that will vote Democratic in the future.

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Andy in Vic

    So, to add insult to the injury of a T.E.A. Party rump in the House shutting down the government because they know, divinely, that they are "right" we have to deal with Ted Cruz dragging us all through this mud, at hundreds of millions a day, for his belief that he is "the only true Republican"? Jesus wept.

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    He's DeMint on steroids...got to love the fact that he will undermine his party at every available opportunity.

    October 3, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. jj

    Just vote Democrat and these wack jobs will lose their power

    October 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Tony

    The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, period. The Supreme Court vouched for its authenticity. Obama was reelected with over 5 million votes over the guy who said he was going to defund it. Like it or not, ACA is legitimate, and a majority of Americans support it.. Cruz and his ilk are terrorists holding the government hostage. Why negotiate with terrorists?

    October 3, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. simplefaith

    Rise up moderate Republicans. Ted Cruz is an opportunist who is taking advantage of a situation to make him look more outstanding to fellow Republicans. He has his sight on the Presidency. If he cared for the American people he would not act the way he does. President Obama makes sense when he speaks and don't waste our time. Ted Cruz with his 21 hour talk was ridiculous and shameful. There is something scary about him. Let me tell you right now, Ted Cruz will not be President of the United States in 2016. If Hillary Clinton does not run for election and I am an Independent, I will vote for Chris Christi, or Rubio, Lindal anyone except him. Believe me, Ted Cruz, with his hostage of the people of the United States will not get our vote. Anyone except him. People you have better sense than to follow a dishonest man.

    October 3, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. IMPACTED AND ANGRY

    Sen. CRUZ is a JOINT SPEAKER ? Yes, it was called GREEN EGGS AND HAM. That pretty much sums up his style of policy. Will not care, does not care, nor will he ever care how many people are out of work for what he has done. I pray he gets exactly what he has given out – Out of work.

    October 3, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Randy

    Republican leadership needs to bring these tea party clowns out to the woodshed & crack some heads together.

    October 3, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Vote for a Republican? No thanks

    I don't want to see time pass so quickly, but 2014 cannot come soon enough. Enough of the tea party and those afraid to stand against them. Enough. There was a time I defended the republican party. I'm sad to say it's been awhile.

    October 3, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    We've had now three times, the House has endeavored to pass compromise bills that would keep the government funded, but at the same time would start to address the enormous harms that Obamacare is inflicting on the American people. And three times, Harry Reid has said 'no, absolutely not, I will not talk, I will not compromise, I will not do anything – no.' And as long as he maintains that absolutist position, both Reid and President Obama have said they won't even sit down to talk. They want a shutdown," he said.
    --------------------–
    What a special place Sen. Cruz is carving out for himself in Hell. Let's look at these proposals, and what Cruz seems to be pushing off as "compromise". Let's remember, all of the proposals have been to fund the government for just a few weeks, so that we can go through this whole "crisis" all over again.

    1. Dismantle Obamacare and fund the rest of government at 100%.
    2. Dismantle Obamacare, but fund only about 1%, for a few programs that Republicans have chosen.
    3. Dismantle Obamacare, but fund even less of the government than proposal #2.

    Do you see a trend here? Each successive "compromise" actually offers less and less. Besides, what is in there for the Republicans to compromise on? Nothing. Democrats had agreed to the Republican funding levels, which means that the sequester cuts continue on. Democrats have not demanded gun control legislation or immigration reform. Democrats have left their bucket list at home.

    October 3, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. tom l

    I love how the same people that are chatising Ted Cruz as a fraud, when all he's doing is standing up for what he believes in, are the same people that are supporting Wendy Davis. Ahhhh, the irony of the left...

    October 3, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. kirk

    Dana bash should be fired or is she auditioning for fox news? That was a cheap shot that should have been leveled at Cruz, he and his gop are the ones leading efforts to defund the exact agency she was referring to, hypocracy abounds the gop, and apparently she is compliant. Complete lack of integrity on her part.

    October 3, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. doug

    This is nothing but a complete and utter meltdown for the republicans. They are boxed in and getting wrecked on every front. I am loving it. When you hear them saying they are winning this battle, it is only because they can't believe how badly they are losing it. They have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and, best of all, nobody but themselves to blame. It is a perfect storm of destruction. The only reason why I'm not throwing a party is because real people are being hurt by their actions. Otherwise, it would be better than Christmas.

    October 3, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Allen

    Republicans are only using the OBAMACARE in Politics...Mr. Cruz and other Repubs that, ObamaCare is a BIG VOTE gain come 2014 & 2016....thats all it is folks!

    October 3, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Matt

    Let Cruz run for president. He'll get the conservatives but the more he talks the more the independent voters run away from the Republicans.

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Thomas

    Both Reid and President Obama have said they won't even sit down to talk. They want a shutdown," Cruz said.
    NOT TRUE !
    Captain Cruz with the help of Jim DeMint " Heritage Foundation " has charted a course for the republican party , the party of Abraham Lincoln into an iceberg . Can't wait to see if he goes down with the ship or weasels into a life boat .

    "John Boehner said , Ted Cruz is one of the best politicians that's come around in a long time. He's able to rally the base, he's got a lot of money … There's a lot of consultants making money off this and lots of TV ads going on.

    John Boehner looks more and more like a cabin boy then a captain .

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. sly

    Thank you President Obama for standing up to Cruz the Racist.

    Thank you Democrats in the Senate as well.

    Our Forefathers created a good system of government which has worked for 200+ years. We ain't gonna let some illegal immigrant overthrow America.

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Dallas

    We've got to start now here in Texas purging ourselves of this radical insane right wing element and it needs to start next year in the election of a new governor. Abbott would be more of the same and perhaps even worse than Perry. Wendy Davis is where we need to start and work very hard for her election. Unless by some miracle we can get a recall, we are stuck with Cruz until 2018 but we've got to start now purging our state of these whack jobs.

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. McShannon

    There are other places to cut the budget. John Boehner’s favorite lobbyist Lockheed Martin receives billions of American tax dollars every year through foreign aid packages that mandate purchase of arms from USA manufacturers. The world really doesn’t need more weapons in the hands of Mid-East countries. Lockheed could as well use the subsidy to develop space travel technology. Mixed up priorities because lobbyists run the show.

    October 3, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. NJD

    I am amazed that the House rules don't allow for any member to bring up a bill for consideration. The 'speaker' just seems to have too much power. At least in the Senate they have to vote for 'cloture' or to 'table' a bill...

    October 3, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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