Cruz Control: TX Congressman to Filibuster His Own 'Defund Obamacare' Bill

Last week, Ted Cruz announced that he was giving up on his push to defund Obamacare because it couldn't pass the Senate. House Republicans, in the midst of preparing to follow Cruz's lead and pass the bill to fuel that plan, were enraged. Republican Rep. Peter King called Cruz a "fraud." Another called Cruz a "joke." A House Republican aide said that "Nancy Pelosi is more well-liked around here." Now, Cruz is trying to make amends in a very strange way.

On "Fox News Sunday," Cruz announced that he will filibuster the House bill that defunds large parts of Obamacare. The point is to prevent a full Senate debate, after which Majority Leader Reid can restore Obamacare funding with a simple majority vote.

But this doesn't change the situation at all. And by wading back in on Sunday, Cruz managed to make it even more clear that he is the leader of the coalition happy to shut down our government in the name of partisan hackery.

There is no good outcome in this for Republicans. Cruz will look utterly ridiculous this week filibustering his own bill. Cruz apparently told no one about his new plan, angering House Republicans further. Cruz wasn't able to cobble together more than about 10 Senate Republicans to support the shutdown threat in the first place, so there's no guarantee they'll stick with him on the filibuster. And even if they do, it is likely they'll let the bill pass before the looming September 30 budget deadline. Shutting down the government on October 1 would be devastating for Republicans.

When the GOP last shut down the government in 1995, Americans heartily and correctly blamed the Republicans. President Clinton roared to re-election the next year. While most Senate Republicans are very wary of this heading into 2014, House Republicans are determined to push ahead regardless. Cruz's shutdown idea put them in an awful position they are determined to worsen: agree to leave Obamacare funding alone and keep the government open or be the party that shut down the government but didn't "back down." Whether they don't like Cruz's abandonment last week or the smell of the pickle they're in, Republicans are more than upset at Cruz.

When they learned Cruz would be on "Fox News Sunday," top Republicans sent opposition research on Cruz to Fox News.

"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 featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz."

The charge Cruz seems to have hoped would solidify him as a Republican hero may have made him a castaway Republican pariah with more than five years left in his term. And all for a plan that Americans are massively opposed to. Even a Republican poll found that 71 percent of Americans oppose it. The election in 2014 will be a perfect and timely opportunity for them to punish Republicans for it.

Cruz won't acknowledge any of this, of course. He's Ted Cruz, a fact-free zone.

WALLACE: Senator, you're completely right. People don't like ObamaCare. On the other hand, by an even wider margin, people don't want to shut down the government to have this fight. In fact, there's a new Republican poll out late last week, a Republican poll, Winston Group, 71-23, don't shut down the government over this.

CRUZ: Well, it depends how the poll is phrased, and there are a lot of polls out there, Rasmussen, just last week, said a majority of Republicans now want ObamaCare defunded. You know what's interesting? Last week, The Wall Street Journal, for the first time in years, found Republicans are leading on health care — Americans trust Republicans more than Democrats on health care. And, Chris, let me suggest — the whole reason why is because we've been standing up, leading the fight to defund ObamaCare. Voters have learned enough talk from Washington, stand up and do it. And, listen, all you have to do is get out of Washington, D.C., and go listen to the American people. You talk to small businesses. They're laying people off. You talk to people that are struggling for jobs and finding their hours, forcibly reduced to 29 hours a week. And, by the way, the people who are hurting, I hear from constituents every single day. Women with pre-existing conditions who are losing their health care because of ObamaCare. Their employers are dropping their health insurance coverage.

For the record, Americans across the spectrum love what's in Obamacare, despite how much the colloquial title of the law has been maligned. And those stories about people losing health insurance are either made up (likely) or called in by very misinformed people. The Affordable Care Act guarantees pre-existing condition coverage.

If Republicans were smart, and had resisted going on a ride on the Crazy Cruz Cruise, they could brag about the Affordable Care Act. President Obama initially proposed (but did not fight for) a public option, which would drastically reduce health care prices. He didn't even propose modern history's most successful health care plan: single-player, guaranteeing quality health care for all Americans and divorcing it from the size of their bank accounts. Republicans' obstinacy was a major factor in getting Obama to sign a bill that the deeply conservative Heritage Foundation wrote in the early 1990s as an alternative to President Clinton's plan. Republicans could brag that the Affordable Care Act is actually a conservative, business-centered approach to health care, and try to take significant credit for its popularity.

But they're pushing ahead with this terrible plan. Attempts to blame the shutdown on President Obama are almost as ridiculous as the idea that President Obama will sign a bill defunding his landmark achievement.

Another day in an America teetering in the wake of the Cruz Cruise.



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