It’s been quite a while since the least popular member of the Senate actively tried to make himself even more hated, but Ted Cruz (R-TX) is back at it. He’s trying to pick another fight with nemesis Mitch McConnell over forcing yet another vote on Obamacare repeal before November’s midterms.
Cruz, who is up for reelection this year and faces a spirited challenger in Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), is leading a group of restive conservatives who want to vote on a budget resolution that would set up a special process—known as reconciliation—to allow the GOP to pass ambitious legislation, such as an ObamaCare repeal, with a simple majority.
“We have 254 days until Jan. 3, 2019. I believe we need to do everything humanly possible to deliver on the promises we made to voters and to score major substantive victories for the American people while we have majorities in both houses and a Republican president,” Cruz said last week.
“If we do that, we maximize the chances of keeping majorities in both houses because we’re enacting policies that make a real and positive difference in people’s lives,” he added.
That’s the pitch Cruz made to the weekly conference of Republican senators last week. It did not convince McConnell, who pointed out they’ve got a very basic “math problem” in doing this. Not only would they have to get every Republican in the Senate onboard with a budget resolution that would allow reconciliation—and right now the budget committees aren’t doing a budget at all—and then they’d have to come up with some kind of replacement legislation that could get 50 votes. Which is pretty much impossible. At least one senator is totally not on board with, and it only takes one. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski: “I am not enthusiastic about that at all. Not at all. […] It would be one thing if somebody had the plan. What’s the proposal? Are we just going to go through an exercise with no plan? We did that and it didn’t work too well.”
Congress has roughly five working months—and given the recess schedule it’s more like four—to pass a farm bill, which is mired now in controversy over whether or not they should be trying to starve poor people, and a budget to fund government after September 30. They also have to fend off Trump’s efforts to claw back nearly half of the funding that they passed this spring. Adding another budget fight and on top of that Obamacare repeal is not something anyone besides Ted Cruz and his maniac cohorts in the House thinks is a good idea.