Senator Ted Cruz, one of the leaders of the movement to defund Obamacare using the “power of the purse”, was interviewed extensively by Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday. Cruz, as usual, was incredibly impressive in describing the rationale and tactics behind the effort:
WALLACE: Hello, again. The clock is ticking. The government shuts down in just eight days unless congress agrees on a bill to fund federal agencies. On Friday the House passed a bill to keep the government going until mid December but they also cut off funding for Obamacare, and Harry Reid said that is dead in the Senate. Ted Cruz is leading the drive, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”
CRUZ: Thank you, Chris, good to be here today.
WALLACE: We just played a clip where you say you will do everything you can to block it with a filibuster, but the problem is you will be blocking a bill you support. So how are you going to get other remember Senators on board to block a bill you support.
CRUZ: Let’s be clear. Last week’s vote was a tremendous victory. A few weeks ago no pundit thought it was possible. They voted to defund Obamacare, and next year as you know the fight moves to the Senate. And I think next week is a time for party immunity. All Senate Republicans I think should come together and support the House bill. They should stop Harry Reid from changing the House bill and for inserting the funding with 51 votes. That will be the fight whether he can use a straight party line vote — and Senate Republicans, if they stand together, we can stop Harry Reid.
WALLACE: Are you going to block consideration of the bill? Will you allow consideration of the bill? You can filibuster that. If you lose that, then a simple majority could take out Obamacare. So are you going to have a consideration of the bill, a vote up or down, or let them vote to block a bill that you support?
CRUZ: First we will ask Harry Reid if had will allow amendments to be subject to 60-vote threshold. In all likelihood will say no because he wanted to force funding through with Democrats. He does that even Senate Republicans have the tool that we always used when the majority leader is abusing his power. We can filibuster and say we will not allow use to add the funding back for Obamacare with just 51 votes.
WALLACE: If I may, you say this is brute political power, it’s Senate rule 22 that has been around for years. It says you say allow debate, that you can pass an amendment by a simple majority, that’s the rule.
CRUZ: What’s good for the rule, it’s good for the gander. And that’s the reason that the Senate, generally on controversial votes, we work out an agreement for it to be subject to a 60 vote threshold. If the majority is going to run the minority over with a train, they have the ability to stop them. So if he says I’m going to run the Republicans other and ignore the bill passed been and I’m going to do this on a 51 vote threshold, in my mind, it should be easy for them to stand and support House Republicans. Any vote to allow Harry Reid to add funding, a vote for cloture is a vote for Obamacare. And I think they will stand side by side and listen to the people and stop this train wreck that is Obamacare.
WALLACE: First of all, you need 41 votes, your vote and 40 others to go with you to block consideration of the House bill in the Senate, how many do you have right now, Senator?
CRUZ: We don’t know right now and this week we will determine that. This is a fast moving target. Just a few weeks ago we didn’t have any of the votes we needed in the House or Senate. I knew all along this would be a long journey. Stage was one unify the person people. We have had a petition signed and people calling their Senators saying stop Obamacare.
CRUZ: Stage three is next week why Senate Republicans, it’s now our turn to unify and stand together with House Republicans. This may end up going back to the House. And I fully believe the House will go on. And I believe first it is Republicans, if you’re a democrat running for reelection in Arkansas, and you get calls from your constituents, it changes the calculus entirely. But that will not happen until we unify Republicans.
WALLACE: Here is the question that everyone on both sides is asking which is what’s your end game? Let’s say you block consideration of any bill in the Senate. They take out Obamacare and they send it back to the House. What’s your end game? Because the government will shut down a week from Monday.
CRUZ: I don’t want the government to shut down, the American people don’t, and I don’t think they should shut down the government. If that happens. If Harry Reid kills this bill in it the Senate, I think the House should hold it’s ground and start passing smaller resolutions one department at a time. Fund the military, send it over, and see it Harry Reid is willing to shut down the military because he wants to force Obamacare on the American people. If the House can keep driving this — the House is the only body where the Republicans have a majority. My job is supporting as much support and air cover as we can for the House to stand up and lead.
WALLACE: Senator, I think it’s fair to say that you ticked off a lot of your fellow Republicans who feel you got them into this fight without an end and without a strategy. They have gone on the record. Tim griffin wrote so far Senate Republicans are good at getting Facebook likes and town halls, not much else. Pete king calls you a fraud. If he can deliver on this, fine, if not he should keep quiet from now on. And bob corker of Tennessee said I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count Republicans that say you’re pushing them into a fight you don’t know how to finish. Senator?
CRUZ: Well, look. There is lots of folks in Washington that can choose to throw rocks, and I’m not going to reciprocate or do likewise. We have career politicians in both parties in Washington that are not listening to Americans. The American people are hurting because Obamacare is not working. It’s killing jobs, it’s driving up health insurance rates, it caused them to lose their insurance. People are hearing from their constituents in overwhelming numbers.
WALLACE: The Democrats feel that you have given them the political high ground in all of this. I want to play with president Obama said last night.
OBAMA: You would be willing to shut down the government and potentially default for the first time in United States history because it bothers you so much that we’re going to make sure that everybody has affordable health care.
WALLACE: Senator, you’re completely right. But people also don’t want to shut down the government to have this. There is a new Republican poll out late last week, a Republican group, 71-23, don’t shut down the government for this.
CRUZ: Here is a lot of ways to phrase this. The majority of Republicans want Obamacare defunded. Last week the wall street journal found that Americans trust Democrats more. And let me suggest the reason why is because we’re standing up and leading the fight. Voters learned that there’s enough talk from Washington, stand up and do it. You just have to get out of Washington dc and listen to the American people. Listen to small businesses laying people off. People struggling for jobs. And the people who are hurting, I hear from them every single day. Women with pre-existing conditions losing their coverage because of Obamacare.
WALLACE: We’re almost out of time. You have a lot of valid criticisms about Obamacare. But if it comes down, if the Senate ping-pongs this back to the House, if it is Obamacare or shut down the government, what’s your position? Keep the government going or keep fighting about Obamacare.
CRUZ: I believe we should stand our ground and I don’t think Harry Reid and Barack Obama should shut down the federal government. The House voted to fund the federal government. If he kills that, Harry Reid is responsible for that. Don’t fund Obamacare because it’s hurting the American people. That’s in Senate Democrats want out because it’s not working.
WALLACE: We’ll talk about that with Senator McCaskill of the next segment. We’ll stay on top of the battle of the budget. It should be interesting.
CRUZ: Thank you, Chris.
The Beltway Establishment ain’t happy with Cruz and Mike Lee. Chris Wallace, during his “Power Panel” segment, mentioned that disgruntled Republican insiders had actually fed him opposition research.
“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats, but from top Republicans to hammer Cruz. Why are Republicans so angry at Ted Cruz?”
Rove insisted it was because Cruz and fellow Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee decided to devise a strategy to defund Obamacare without consulting Republican leadership.
Rove is his usual disingenuous self.
After the Tea Party and Constitutional conservatives swept the Republicans into power in 2010, what did the House leadership do, Karl? Did they embrace the huge crop of new freshmen, incorporate their concerns into their agenda, and install the best of them into key committee slots?
No. No. And no. John Boehner in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate did everything they could to intimidate the conservatives and keep them in check. They ignored their concerns and avoided real fights over spending and the debt ceiling. And they made sure that none of the conservatives were given the key slots they deserved by dint of their immense followings.
In fact, Boehner and McConnell have done everything in their power to disenfranchise conservatives; their mouthpieces including Rove and the RNC suppressed turnout by attacking primary winners like Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock, and Christine O’Donnell.
What kind of “leadership” attacks members of their own party?
For two years, Boehner and McConnell did nothing — nothing — to fight Barack Obama’s agenda. They’ve done nothing serious to investigate the outrageous scandals plaguing this administration. They refuse to name a Select Investigative Committee on Benghazi; they refuse to demand a Special Prosecutor for IRS-Gate; and heaven knows what they’re doing about the illegal wiretaps of reporters or the illicit activities of the NSA.
In fact, the country club Republican leaders have been so feckless and power-hungry, they actually suppressed the turnout in 2012. They disenfranchised and demoralized the conservative base.
Karl Rove-style leadership: the same guy who blew $ 400 million on losing candidates, according to Donald Trump.
Giving money to Rove is like investing with Bernie Madoff.
We the people want Obamacare obliterated. We the people demand action. This government isn’t John Boehner’s or Karl Rove’s. It ours! This is our government!
And if the old bulls in the GOP won’t do what we want, then they need to make way for new blood. Stop your insane attacks on those who actually energize the base! That’s my warning: stop these attacks or you risk destroying the Republican Party.
Karl and Johnny: is that really what you want your legacy to be?
Hat tip: BadBlue News Service.