Cruz colleagues scorch ‘garbage’ Politico article

By Garth Kant

A Section
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

WASHINGTON – Aides to conservative senators are debunking a Politico article titled, “An army of one,” which claims Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “is leading the charge against Obamacare but no one is following.”

The article states Cruz wants all Republicans to declare “all-out war” but portrayed his colleagues as hesitant because the downside, according to Politico, would divide the GOP and become a “PR disaster.”

“That whole story is total garbage,” one aide to a senator told WND.

Specifically, the article contended Cruz was “still ready to use any means necessary to repeal Obamacare,” particularly the budget reconciliation process to get a simple majority vote to repeal the health-care law (which Politico termed “draconian”), while adding, “he looks to be increasingly out on a limb,” and “Republicans are surprisingly squishy” on how to overturn the law.

Politico reporter David Nather cited what he saw as less than enthusiastic support for using budget reconciliation to repeal Obamacare from such stalwart conservatives as Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., merely “leaving the door open” to that approach.

The senate aide told WND other staffers and senators were probably hesitant to give their entire strategy to Politico, so they merely said they would consider reconciliation but were not ready to comment.

The upshot?

“They wrote the story they wanted to write, which is Ted Cruz is on an island,” the aide said of Politico.

An aide to another conservative senator told WND the lawmaker was looking to repeal and replace Obamacare any way that gets it done.

And an aide to Paul told WND, “Senator Paul supports repealing Obamacare fully. He supports whatever strategy would accomplish that goal including using reconciliation or funding riders on appropriations bills. Clearly, this is not an easy task, yet conservatives need to figure out how to continue a short- and long-term strategy that repeals Obamacare.”

And just last week, Lee wrote, “The whole point of reconciliation is that it allows the majority one chance to pass something with only simple majorities. For Republicans in 2015 – not as a matter of ideological purity but of practical coalitional unity – that one thing has to include repealing Obamacare.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

One aide spoke to WND at some length about the GOP strategies to overturn both Obamacare and the expected upcoming executive order from President Obama granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

Republicans don’t have the votes to directly repeal Obamacare because they could not override a presidential veto of such a bill. The GOP does have the power of the purse, however, in that it controls the House now and will gain control of the Senate in January. It could use that power to defund major portions of Obamacare.

The current continuing resolution, or CR, that temporarily keeps the government funded in lieu of an actual budget is due to expire on Dec. 11. Some conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh, have strongly urged the GOP not to pass a CR that funds Obamacare for the rest of the fiscal year, ending on Sept. 30., and then dare President Obama to defund the government by not signing the CR.

But that is not the emerging GOP strategy, as it was in October of 2013.

“There’s no reason for a shutdown over Obamacare,” the aide told WND.

No shutdown this year?

“No shutdown at all, period. No one is talking about using a CR to defund Obamacare,” said the aide, adding, “reconciliation is not the CR.”

The staffer said the GOP will either pass a long-term CR (through September) or a short-term CR (through January), but, “No one is talking about using that vehicle to repeal Obamacare.”

“We are absolutely 100 percent for using reconciliation,” but, the aide noted there was concern among colleagues that the process might neutralize only 85-to-90 percent of Obamacare, and the rest would have to be done through a piecemeal approach or a stand-alone bill.

“The narrative Politico was trying to put forward was you have to be for one or the other, either reconciliation or piecemeal,” despite the fact that the reporter had been told his interpretation was wrong, and the two approaches were not mutually exclusive.

The aide told WND it was quite likely the GOP would need to employ every means available, an all-of-the-above strategy, and, “They (Politico) interpreted that to make conservative senators sound like they weren’t sure about reconciliation.”

Obama_executive_orderThe effort to stop amnesty will also not carry the spectre of shutdown – at least not in the immediate future.

President Obama has strongly indicated he will grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants before the year is over and before the GOP takes control over both branches of Congress in January.

The Senate aide described the strategy conservatives will recommend to GOP leadership to stop it:

  • The House should pass a short-term CR that funds the government until the next Congress convenes.
  • It will not defund amnesty because the president (likely) will not announce his executive order before funding expires on Dec. 11.
  • GOP leaders are currently meeting to hammer out the details of what that CR would include.
  • The House would send that bill to the Senate.
  • Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would allow a vote on the CR (because it will not defund amnesty.)
  • After the president announces his amnesty, and after the new Congress convenes, the GOP can then defund amnesty in the next CR or budget.

“If we’re going to have a fight, we want to do it with our strongest hand,” the aide said.

With Reid no longer in control of the Senate, the GOP-led Congress could pass a CR or budget that eliminates funding for both amnesty, giving the president the choice of singing the bill(s) or risking a government shutdown.

WND pointed out that the onus was on Democrats to pass the CR before the last government shutdown, and even though the GOP pointed out the Democrats were the de facto obstructionists, the media portrayed the GOP as the culprits. What would stop history from repeating?

The aide indicated the GOP will have to make their case to the American people and frame it as a winning argument.

WND asked if GOP leadership had the resolve to play a game of chicken with the president.

The aide said he could not speak for them, but, “Voters told them in this last election exactly what they expected of Republican leadership. This whole election was about Obamacare, spending and stopping Obama’s executive amnesty.”

He added, “I mean, it was very clear. Show me a Republican who won, or even a Democrat who won, who said I support Obama’s amnesty. It’s just the opposite. So, the message should not be lost on any Republicans, least of all, our leadership.”

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