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

    "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."

    This is how fascism works. Once a party values ideological purity –stubbornness, basically– people naturally try to prove themselves the most pure and loyal, and then continually try to one-up each other. This is how extremism takes root, pulling the center (normalcy) further and further away from the true center. And suddenly, those with ultra-conservative views seem normal when compared with those in the party prepared to kill and exterminate other humans. Then those extremists turn on the merely ultra-conservative as traitors (RINOs, right?). I don't know why America thinks its right wing is any different than those in other countries like Greece that are susceptible to extremism. It's time for non-extreme Republicans to do some soul searching and decide if they have enough courage to say no to the radicals taking over their party.

    October 3, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC


    "Now all of a sudden he wants to sit down and conduct a budget conference after he's shut down government."

    No he doesn't. The GOP/Teatrolls are still refusing to conference on the long-term budgets the Senate and House passed in April. They have blocked and refused to conference on those budgets 19 times since then (the latest being yesterday). The only thing they are offering to "conference" on is a very short-term temporary continuing resolution...so they can manufacture a hostage crisis yet again in a few months.
    You're right. That's what I meant, but I guess it just didn't come out sounding that way.

    October 3, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. G.R.R.

    pure republican? He is a pure fascists.

    October 3, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Patty

    Erroll, you just said that perfectly!!!

    October 3, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. No Adult Supervision in the Legislature

    So the republicans in the House say the Dems won't negotiate over a LAW that is in effect, so let's negotiate. This is the point where they need to sit with the Republicans and tell them the AHCA is off the table, but WE WANT the money restored to SNAP, huge tax increases for those making over 500k, and an end to oil and farm subsidies. That is the way to negotiate. And Cruz was born in Canada??? We are guarding the wrong border.....

    October 3, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. doug mackay

    Sorry Toni we in Canada don't want him either. Try Fidel

    October 3, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Leigh

    So, em, Republicans....where is your alternative after your hostage-taking of the American public works and Obamacare is dynamited? Why haven't you put YOUR solution on the table? Why hasn't it been discussed? Why aren't you lauding your plan as the Answer?

    Oh wait, that's right. You have no solution, no alternative plan. All you have is your wish to keep the status quo rollin' ever onward, hoping that those who can't afford to get health insurance using the present outrageously overblown system will just die and get out of your way. They're just poor bloodsuckers who contribute nothing to Society, anyway, right? Isn't that what your goddess Ayn Rand says? They're a millstone around the necks of the wealthy and should just be done away with, isn't that right?

    We are watching the GOP self-destruct. And I couldn't be happier.

    October 3, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. g

    deport him back to canada where he belongs

    October 3, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Fred Evil

    When will the GoP learn to control their upstarts? This guys is simply making trouble for 320,000,000 that we DON'T WANT.
    Impeach the lunatic Cruz!

    October 3, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. SDH

    Hilarious. I was thinking the same thing as Brock-Vond for a while now. " Is it just me, or does Ted Cruz remind anyone else of the SNL character "Tim Calhoon"? When I first saw footage of his ...er, fillibuster, I thought it was a lost episode of SNL ..." He's my senator and he's making Texas look like a joke, as bad as it is here politically. It is embarrassing how many people in this minority of our society do not think shutting down the govt is a good thing without understanding the implications for our economy and society. They don't care about anyone but themselves and live in a bubble. They don't understand that one of the major reasons for the slow recovery and high unemployment has been precisely due to the political instability and econmic uncertainty caused by these threats to shut down the govt and default on the national debt. Additionally, it destroys morale in the govt and makes it harder for the govt to hire and retain competent and qualified individuals and that will cost us a lot more in the end (more corruption, not less, and less bang for the buck and less ability to collect taxes and enforce the laws).

    October 3, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Leonard Spurling

    Ted Cruz has lost his mind!!!

    October 3, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. excitizen

    "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."

    Cruz, get this through your thick head: this is law, it was passed and then confirmed by your supreme court. Also, the MAJORITY of American voters voted for this by re-electing Obama for a second term. To hold the country hostage while you have a temper tantrum over a LAW that you don't agree with is treson in my opinion. Do what all other political parties must do in similar instances; get a majority government elected and then try to do something about it. You win some, you lose some. Get over it!

    October 3, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine


    I wish there were 533 more Ted Cruz's in the House and Senate and one in the Whitehouse. THEN we would see this country return to greatness and out of this liberal Democrat cesspool we have become.
    Well, sure, if your definition of greatness is becoming an oligarchy like most of Latin America, lets go for it. I hope you love life on the Ayn Rand plantation he wants to create. Default? No problem, we'll just push it off onto our great-great grandchildren, as long as my rich friends get their tax cuts. Pour me another martini, Rafael.

    October 3, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC


    Fair is fair

    Stand strong GOP !
    They need to for their circular firing squad to be effective!
    I'm pretty sure that you are responding to an imposter.

    I'm less worried about what would happen if the Republican Party implodes, than I'm worried about what would happen when the Tea Party finally implodes. The original Tea Party in Boston Harbor ended with them throwing it all away and starting a revolution.

    October 3, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Michael Anthony

    There are three categories of people who are discussing this issue. There are those that know about the ACA and that it has already been the subject of negotiation and compromise, see the elimination of the government option, changes to the prescription benefit, etc. Those people realize that this is a hostage taking to tie funding to a law that has been passed and reviewed by the S. Ct. There are those who know this, but think this is ok and those who don't understand it and think that the request to negotiate is the same thing as negotiating a bill prior to passage. Those are the ones to whom the "all we seek is negotiation" buzz line is directed at. Our populous is not well informed and huge part of the problems that we face today.

    October 3, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Michael

    Where is the GOP alternative to the ACA? Status Quo? Where people get turned down for pre-existing conditions? Where millions are uninsured have to go to the ER and the premium-paying get charged for it? The ACA is law. You don't like it? Fix it. Offer up an alternative that doesn't do more to eliminate the Middle Class ...

    October 3, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Nikon1

    Better look at the Koch Brothers for this whole Tea Party Funding. IMO – They should be shipped off to IRAQ for their underhanded and immoral funding of all the idiots who have created this mess.

    October 3, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Linda

    Of course the only ones who will feel the pain of the shutdown are the Citizens of the USA. The politicians continue to be paid, unlike the federal employees who have been furloughed, the world image of the US has been damaged, all while these lying politicians point at each other to blame. The funding of our government ie our country, should never be tied to any bill or amendment. It is a separate thing. Our government should never shutdown because of temper tantrums of congress. I want my tax dollars back. We all deserve a refund for the government not functioning the way it has committed to and been paid to. And I want my refund to come directly out of Boehners' continuing check. Oh, by the way, Obamacare has no effect on the pols either as they have big fat health insurance packages (which we pay for) and retirements and all the other benefits that they don't earn but get anyway, and we pay for it.

    This country needs to get it's head out of the sand and wake up to what's happening before we are all poverty class except for the 1%.

    October 3, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Bob

    The 2014 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

    Fire them all.

    October 3, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The very fabric of what our country has stood for since 1776 has now become a playtoy to the Republicans and their Tea Party masters. Do we really need another REVOLUTION to keep these people in check; or do we vote them out in 2014?

    October 3, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. Georgia Girl

    Who listens to this Canadian/Cuban senator? He is not an American, but he is going out of his way to shut down our government.

    October 3, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  22. Hogan's Goat

    "Those of you who have been brainwashed to be against the Tea Party patriots don't realize that they are for everyone's freedoms."
    Spare me, liar. I drove by one of your rallies once and there were four Confederate flags flying. Picture of Obama as the Joker on the gate. It was a Klan Rally without a burning cross. America doesn't need more racist weasels.

    October 3, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Nogods

    Ted Cruz is much better at reading children's stories then he is at being a politician.

    October 3, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. splainit

    What "tremendous harm" is Cruz referring to? Could it be insuring people with pre-existing conditions? Or maybe just those who couldn't afford insurance before? How about people who have been stuck in a job, but can now start their own business and buy reasonably priced insurance? Just exactly how is the ACA a job killer? By freeing up a little more of a person's income so they can buy additional products and services? No, I don't think that would do it. Maybe, just maybe he's lying to appeal to the ignorant, paranoid people who elected him. These are folks who believed his lies when the GOP removed funding for informing the people just what the ACA would really do for us. Then the GOP told the lies that make the Tea Partiers so paranoid. It's a shame that people are too lazy to inform themselves, but instead believe liars out for their own gain.

    October 3, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  25. 2020

    The Hate is not and will never be to the President, if Cruz set foot in other countries, he would have been charged with economic Espionage, national security risk and economic terrorist. Only American is so naïve to allow this kind of stupidity play out in front of the world. Shame on you, Cruz, Shame on "Beohner, Shame on GOP !!!

    October 3, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
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