Ted Cruz: 60 votes or else on debt ceiling
By: Burgess Everett
February 11, 2014 07:30 PM EST
Ted Cruz will demand that the Senate come up with 60 votes to raise the debt ceiling, but indicated he won’t delay the vote as D.C. awaits a snowstorm.
The GOP freshman senator from Texas told reporters Tuesday afternoon that he will not allow a clean bill to lift the debt ceiling through the Senate with a bare majority.
“Under no circumstances will I agree to the Senate’s raising the debt ceiling with just 50 votes. I intend to object and force a 60-vote threshold,” Cruz said.
Given that the entire 55-member Democratic caucus is expected to support the clean debt ceiling bill, that means five Republicans would need to join with Democrats to advance the bill to passage. Centrist-minded Republicans like Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine all said they were undecided on how they will vote.
Cruz said his 60-vote threshold demand shouldn’t irk his Republican colleagues who may feel obligated to swallow a tough vote to vote in favor of a clean debt ceiling lift. Cruz said the GOP should simply hold together and block the legislation that cleared the House on Tuesday afternoon.
“They don’t have to vote for it, I think Republicans should stand together and do the right thing. We should have every Republican stand together and follow the responsible course of action, which is to insist on meaningful spending reforms before raising the debt ceiling,” Cruz said.
Depending on the weather forecast, the Senate may skip town as soon as Wednesday for a long recess. Cruz said he wouldn’t insist on keeping his colleagues in Washington if the Senate went into a hurry-up offense given the looming storm.
“The precise timing is not terribly consequential, whether the vote is tomorrow or the next day. What matters is the threshold of 60 votes and not 50,” he said.