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Shutdown Was So Last Year (Almost): Cruz and Cornyn Fight for Tea Party-Style Tactics Against Bipartisan Budget

For once, Congress agreed on something - and on time, too. A few days ahead of the December 13 deadline, the Budget Conference Committee agreed on a deal to reverse many of the harmful sequestration cuts, provide tens of billions in deficit reduction, and most importantly - avert another shutdown in early 2014. While acknowledging that the deal isn't perfect, the President called the deal "a good sign that Democrats and Republicans in Congress were able to come together and break the cycle of shortsighted, crisis-driven decision making to get this done." But there are a handful of notable exceptions to this spirit of bipartisan camaraderie.

Ted Cruz, never one to shy away from a government shutdown, has already come out opposing the deal, despite the fact that he's on a plane back from South Africa and hasn't fully reviewed it. However, he finds what he imagines to be in the deal "deeply concerning" because it reverses many of the arbitrary cuts to domestic programs imposed by sequestration. John Cornyn also expressed similar reservations about the agreement before it was even unveiled.

Ever one for grandstanding and poor decision-making, Cruz's trip to South Africa was another exercise in crass politics disguised as statesmanship. At Mandela's memorial service in South Africa Tuesday, Cruz took an opportunity for theatrics and walked out during Cuban president Raul Castro's speech. Because you honor a someone great by walking out of the memorial service.

The agreement Cruz and Cornyn are opposing is conservative enough for Paul Ryan, one of the chief negotiators, to put his name on it. Even John Boehner is calling Cruz and his Republican colleagues who have come out against the agreement "ridiculous." That's because the agreement is not particularly far-reaching and is pretty evenly divided in terms of what each side gains and loses. But because Cruz and Cornyn aren't getting everything they want, they've decided to come out against even this modest, bipartisan deal to avert a shutdown.

Boehner also called out Cruz, Cornyn and their group of naysayers came out against the deal "before they even saw it," which is something both Senators have readily admitted. While the rest of Congress (not to mention the country) is weary from partisan brinksmanship, Cruz and Cornyn are ready for the next fight - even if they're not sure what exactly they're fighting about.

The House will vote on the deal on Thursday, with the Senate taking it up next week. It's expected to get broad bipartisan support, highly unusual for this Congress, especially on the issues of the budget and deficit reduction. But Cruz and Cornyn are determined to make Texas stand out in the worst possible way.  

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