According to the AP, Texas freshman Senator Ted Cruz upset several GOP colleagues with an attempt to force a vote on President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The move changed lawmakers’ weekend plans and gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) an opening to move forward on long-stalled Obama nominees.
One of Cruz’ Republican colleagues called the tactics a painful echo of last year’s 16-day partial government shutdown. Another senator said it was a strategy without an end game.
Saturday, when Cruz got his vote on Obama’s immigration executive actions, he lost 74-22, because even Republicans who agree with him on immigration repudiated his effort. Soon afterwards, Congress cleared the spending bill.
“You should have an end goal in sight if you’re going to do these types of things and I don’t see an end goal other than irritating a lot of people,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. – referring to last year’s shutdown showdown over Obama’s health care law by Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah – said it was a movie he had seen before and “wouldn’t have paid money to see it again.”
Added Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.: “I fail to see what conservative ends were achieved.”
Democrats opted not to criticize Cruz publicly, in an indication they thought that he was only hurting Republicans.
Cruz was unapologetic and said the sole purpose of his efforts was to secure a Senate vote to “stop President Obama’s amnesty” — his description of the president’s plan for work visas for an estimated 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
“Both Democrats and Republicans will have the opportunity to show America whether they stand with a president who is defying the will of the voters or with the millions of Americans who want a safe and legal immigration system,” Cruz said in a speech to a crowded Senate chamber moments before the vote.
In a Facebook post, Cruz had blamed outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, arguing that Saturday’s round-the-clock votes on nominations was to prevent the vote he sought.
Republicans said Cruz’s move had the reverse effect of his campaign on immigration, ensuring a vote on the nominee for Customs and Immigration Enforcement who would carry out Obama’s executive actions.
Cruz, a Canadian-born Cuban-American with an Ivy League resume, created headlines in his first few months in the Senate with a fierce challenge to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be defense secretary.
Last fall, it was Cruz and Lee who roiled the GOP and Washington with their push to starve Obama’s health overhaul of money, a drive that led to the partial shutdown.
Democrats weren’t surprised that the conservative duo struck again.
“They’re all about headlines. They’re trying to get attention for themselves. They’ve succeeded in doing that,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Some claim that Cruz sent a shot across the bow at incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, suggesting the two should not be entirely trusted to keep their promise to challenge Obama’s immigration policy when the all-Republican Congress takes over in January.
“We will learn soon enough if those statements are genuine and sincere,” Cruz said Friday night.