Cruz Slams GOP 'Defeatist Attitude' in Obamacare Fight
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 06:01 PM
By: Todd Beamon
Slightly more than an hour after speaking nearly a full day on the Senate floor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz continued his battle against Obamacare on Rush Limbaugh's radio program on Wednesday, charging his fellow Republicans with a "defeatist attitude" that manifested itself through empty "show votes" that deceive constituents.
"Part of what's so problematic with Washington is how many Republicans want a show vote to pretend to their constituents they're fighting for what they say they're fighting for, rather than actually fighting for it and actually winning," the freshman Republican senator told Limbaugh.
"In both parties, you've got entrenched politicians who have barely veiled contempt for the American people," Cruz said. "They think their voters are gullible rubes — and you give them a little 'show vote,' you tell them, 'Hey, I'm totally with you,' then they go to Washington and they don't actually do what they say."
After speaking for 21 hours and 19 minutes, Cruz simply took his seat in the Senate chamber at noon on Wednesday. It was the predetermined time for the body to adjourn. He began speaking at 2:41 p.m. on Tuesday. The freshman senator was applauded for his effort by several Senate and House colleagues.
Cruz then joined senators in a 100-0 vote officially sending to the Senate floor the legislation passed last week by the House of Representatives that would temporarily finance the federal government through mid-December, while stripping funds for Obamacare.
He warned Limbaugh of the significance of a vote this week to end debate on the House's continuing resolution.
Senate Republicans should rally against that vote — called "cloture" — because it would allow Majority Leader Harry Reid to propose an amendment that would remove the bill that defunds Obamacare from the legislation.
Democrats control the Senate, 52 seats to 46. The Senate has two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
"It takes 60 votes to grant cloture," Cruz told Limbaugh. "The reason it matters is if Harry Reid gets 60 votes to cut off debate, he will then file one amendment — he said only one amendment — that guts the House continuing resolution, and that fully funds Obamacare.
"Any Republican who votes for cloture, who votes with Harry Reid, who votes with the Democrats to cut off debate and give Harry Reid the ability to fund Obamacare fully on a 51-vote partisan vote of only Democrats, is voting to fund Obamacare," he said.
"A number of Republicans are going to maintain that 'no, no, no, no, no, no,' their vote to cut off debate is in support of the House bill," the senator added. "That's simply not the case. It's a show vote.
"If Harry Reid gets 60 votes, every Republican then will vote against his amendment to fund Obamacare.
"And so all 46 Republicans want to go home to their districts and say, 'Gosh, I voted to defund Obamacare — and marvel of marvels, we lost,' which, to be honest, is the outcome that I think more than a few of them affirmatively desire," Cruz said.
He told Limbaugh "the single biggest surprise in arriving to the Senate is the defeatist attitude here. We don't even talk about how to win a fight. There's no discussion.
"We talk about, 'Hey, let's get a show vote so we can go tell our constituents we're doing something,'" Cruz added. "But I promise you, Rush, if you had to sit through one Senate lunch, you'd be in therapy for a month."
Cruz attributed this GOP malaise to long tenures on Capitol Hill.
"These are good men and women. I respect them. I like them," he said. "Many of these are my friends, but they've been here a long time — and they're beaten down. They don't believe we can win. They don't believe it can happen, and the answer they say on every issue is, 'No, we can't do it. We can't do it.'"
In the Obamacare fight specifically, it has led Republicans to fear battling Senate Democrats, even causing some collusion between the parties, Cruz said.
"Unfortunately, there's an alliance between the Democrats, who certainly don't want to discuss the merits of Obamacare because it is such an abysmal failure, and many of the Republicans who are scared of this fight," he said. "They're scared that it won't work and that Republicans will get blamed and there's political risk.
"So from day one, they said, 'It can't work, it can't work,' and the more momentum it got, the more the American people got motivated behind it, the more scared they got."
The fight then turns to personalities, Cruz charged — even efforts to discredit him. The senator has come under attack from both parties for his longstanding opposition to Obamacare and for his marathon floor session this week.
"That alliance, both the Republicans who don't want to have this fight and the Democrats who don't want to discuss the merits of the issue, they want to make it about anything else — and the easiest thing is to make it about personality," Cruz told Limbaugh. "They get a bunch of anonymous congressional staffers to give all sorts of scurrilous quotes … and you know what?
"Who cares?" Cruz said. "The American people do not care and, you know, for my end, I'm not interested in playing that game."