I had read headlines about this speech by Ted Cruz, but watching it finally was even better.
As background, Sean Sullivan at WaPo’s The Fix points out our house is divided, Ted Cruz vs. John McCain: Welcome to the new normal in the Senate:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) feuded this week. Then they feuded some more. It wasn’t the first time tensions between the longtime senator and the freshman tea party favorite flared up. And it’s a pretty safe bet that it won’t be the last.
The dispute between McCain and his allies and Cruz and his cohort lays bare a new fault line in the Senate GOP Conference — one that threatens to further stall movement in a legislative chamber already seized by partisan gridlock.
At issue this week: the budget. The setting: the Senate floor. Cruz, along with Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Mike Lee of Utah called for Senate Republicans to block efforts to move the budget debate to a conference committee (both the House and Senate have separately passed budgets) without a guarantee Democrats won’t surreptitiously try to insert an automatic increase to the nation’s debt limit through a procedural tactic.
“We could go to conference right now, today, if the Democrats would simply say, we won’t raise the debt ceiling with just using 50 votes,” Cruz said on the Senate floor Thursday.
McCain, along with moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and others, have challenged their conservative colleagues, decrying the effort to delay, especially after Senate Democrats finally passed a budget for the first time in three years. The obstruction, McCain said Thursday, threatens to “paralyze the process.”
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