Cruz Loses Support for Anti-Obamacare Tactic

He's trying to block a bill he supports because he's worried Democrats will restore funding for health care law later

  • Share
  • Read Later
Johnny Hanson / Houston Chronicle / AP

U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz speaks to a cheerful crowd after he defeated Republican rival, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a runoff election for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison on July 31, 2012, in Houston.

If Sen. Ted Cruz tries to block a bill that defunds Obamacare — all for the confusing purpose of actually defunding the health care law — he may be on his own.

The tea party Texas Republican is increasingly finding himself out on a limb as he tries to block a House-passed spending bill that keeps the government running but defunds President Barack Obama’s signature health law in the process. Though Cruz is a leading voice in favor of defunding the law — even at the cost of a government shutown — he argues that allowing the House bill to move forward on a procedural vote now would allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the chamber’s top Democrat, to strip out the defunding provision later without being subject to a filibuster. So he’s pursuing a “kill your darlings” filibuster tactic to block a procedural vote so the bill never reaches the Senate floor in the first place, Politico reports.

But the two top Senate Republicans — Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas — said Monday that they won’t support Cruz’s strategy.

“Sen. McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. “He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill,.”

House Republicans passed the spending bill last week. Cruz supports it, but thinks it won’t pass the Democratic-controlled Senate unless Reid & Co. strip out the defunding measure, so he’s trying to stop it in its tracks now.

“I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in,” Cruz said in a statement on Friday.