Ted Cruz Admits His Plan To Defund Obamacare Won’t Succeed

Ted Cruz becomes a little more honest about his plan to "defund" Obamacare.

Ted Cruz

With House Republicans set to put themselves on record yet again as being opposed to the Affordable Care Act and seemingly sign on to the “defund Obamacare” plan put forward by Senator Ted Cruz, Cruz himself is essentially admitting that his own plan cannot possibly succeed:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn’t have much to say Thursday in response to House Republicans fuming at him for conceding that the Democrat-controlled Senate doesn’t have the votes to repeal Obamacare and leaving the battle — and all its political perils — for House conservatives to fight.

In fact, Cruz, a tea party favorite who has championed an Obamacare repeal, went further and said even some Senate Republicans don’t support the latest push for defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. He also said a full repeal of Obamacare doesn’t have a chance until at least after the 2014 elections.

“Right now, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid has 54 Democrats and they presumably are going to stand with him … and a number of Senate Republicans have expressed that they may support the Democrats here,” Cruz told a couple of reporters, just after his remarks at an event hosted by the National Auto Dealers Association.

“I think it is likely that it will take another election for a full repeal,” he said.

During his NADA speech, Cruz addressed the latest House GOP strategy — this will be the 42nd repeal vote — to sink the Affordable Care Act. House Republican leaders on Friday will bring up a measure to permanently defund the law and tie it to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running.

Cruz hailed House Republican leaders for the strategy, and said it is a “testament” to their commitment to bring down Obamacare. Still, he doubled down on what he said Wednesday: Efforts to sink the law aren’t going anywhere in the Senate, or as long as Obama is in the White House.

“We know with an absolute certainty that President Obama and Harry Reid are going to push back, are going to fight to defend Obamacare,” Cruz said, emphasizing that the only way repeal can happen is through a sustained grassroots effort. “It’s going to depend on making the case to the American people.”

This isn’t the first time in the past twenty four hours that Cruz has pulled the rug out from under the House GOP since they announced their intention to take yet another vote on Obamacare. Within hours after that plan became public, Cruz admitted that he doesn’t have the votes in the Senate to win a vote to defund Obamacare and put the ball back in the House’s court:

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are fuming at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for conceding that the party’s efforts to repeal Obamacare aren’t going anywhere in the Senate — and leaving the House to keep fighting over it anyway.

Cruz, a tea party favorite, is one of the most vocal proponents of defunding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. He’s spent months championing the cause. But on Wednesday, as House Republican leaders unveiled their latest plan for sinking Obamacare — tying a measure to defund the law to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running — Cruz thanked House Republicans for their fight, and said they’re on their own.

“[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in a statement. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”

Aides to top Republicans in the House, where GOP leadership has already been struggling to keep the party together on the measure, were beside themselves. And once granted anonymity, they didn’t mince their words.

“We haven’t even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?” fumed one senior GOP aide. “Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He’s a joke, plain and simple.”

Another aide said Cruz’s comment “exposes how [Senate conservatives] have deliberately misled their constituents and the grassroots for eight weeks. This isn’t leadership, it’s hypocrisy.”

Things got a lot more heated when some Congressman went on Twitter and essentially accused Cruz of surrendering in a fight that he’s been leading for the past three months, if not longer. It’s not an unfair criticism, of course, especially since many people in the House were making the point that Cruz himself now acknowledges and arguing that the GOP should not pursue the strategy at all. Now that the House GOP has signed on to Cruz’s plan, thanks largely to grassroots pressure that he himself helped to foment, he seems to be backing out, or at least admitting that there never was really any chance that what he was proposing had any chance of succeeding.

For once, of course, Ted Cruz is right. There’s no way this bill can pass the Senate and, when it doesn’t, the House and Senate GOP will be left with the question of what to do after they’ve played their Obamacare card and lost. Of course, that won’t be Ted Cruz’s problem, he will have gotten his vote and his reputation among the Tea Party crowd will be enhanced as a result. Those other problems like the budget and the debt ceiling? Let John Boehner deal with those I guess. This whole debacle may do wonders for Ted Cruz’s credentials among the GOP base, but it’s not going solve any real world problems, and it’s not going to do anything about the looming problems of a budget that needs to be passed and a debt ceiling that needs to be raised.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    You skipped over the part where Cruz bows to the foot of Republican Leadership.
    He went on Fox News and Hannity last night…begging for forgiveness and swearing to do all he could to defund Obamacare.
    What we are watching is nothing more than a Texas grifter using the Tea-Baggers and bilking them of their grand kids inheritance.
    The GOP has become so pathetic…so, so, so very pathetic.

  2. JoshB says:

    He stepped out of line and almost quickly realized that sort of behavior will not be tolerated. How else will he get sweet, sweet tea money for his eventual Super PAC if he is just another RINO carelessly tossed aside?

  3. Scott says:

    I think the good Senator is near the tipping point where he will be found out as a narcisistic, lightweight, emply suit. When he ran for Senator, I happened to listen to his debate with his Democratic opponent, Paul Sadler. I found him just repeating talking points while Sadler gave detailed answers. Of course, that is not how elections are won. However, he has not grown one inch in stature in the time he has been in the Senate . He has been too busy running around the country being the newest right wing celebrity to actually understand anything. A failure in the making.

  4. CSK says:

    The truly hilarious part is that his worshipers are frantically denying that Cruz did or said any such thing. They’re claiming the media is making up all this.

    In a way, I can understand their desperation. They truly believed that Cruz (with Palin at his side) was going to gallop in and save the Republic. I wonder if they’ll ever realize he was just in it for the attention.

  5. Paladin says:

    They can only mask themselves for so long… then you have obligatory skin flute sessions in which the pseudo men are proven to be shemales regardless of affiliation!!!

  6. jukeboxgrad says:

    “It is disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz.” Link.


  7. C. Clavin says:

    @ Paladin…
    I see no reason to cast aspersions upon she-males.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    “We know with an absolute certainty that President Obama and Harry Reid are going to push back, are going to fight to defend Obamacare,” Cruz said, emphasizing that the only way repeal can happen is through a sustained grassroots effort. “It’s going to depend on making the case to the American people.”

    But, damn it, he’s principled!
    Okay Ted, here’s a biscuit, now go away.

  9. legion says:

    the Republican party has, for the last decade or so, consistently put the good of the party ahead of the good of the nation. That has, quite predictably, left Boehner in charge of a caucus that has learned to put their own individual re-elections ahead of what’s good for the party. We may not see another Republican Presidency for a generation.

  10. Anonne says:

    Morons. Last time I checked, the President had to sign off on it too, and there was no way he had the votes to undo that.

    If they want to stop fraud, waste and abuse, they can start by stopping the endless stream of pointless repeal/defund Obamacare bills.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    Jon Chait describes the aesthetic of these ads as “Ayn Randhead–on-acid gestalt”

  12. mantis says:

    And how much damage will they do to the economy pursuing what they admit is futile?

    This is no way to run a country.

  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    Stolen from a commenter at NR:

    Their hero Ted Cruz talked a bunch of smack and then ran out of the bar when the fight broke out. He’s a coward and these idiots have no idea what to do or who to be mad at now.

  14. Todd says:

    It’s all part of the show.

    They know it’s not going to work. But they are convinced that at least the base will blame the Democrats for the shutdown. Then when the rest of the country rightly blames the Republicans, the base will be even more mad at the “biased media” … causing them to redouble their resolve to “take their country back”.

    … and of course send money to anyone promising to fulfill said pipedream.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    “Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement,” quipped one senior House Republican leadership source. “Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within.”

  16. C. Clavin says:

    The shame of this is that most of America does not pay attention…and so these guys making asses of themselves and showing how incompetent they are and how completely dis-interested in actually Governing they are…doesn’t register.
    Most of America still thinks the GOP is the GOP of their Fathers and Grandfathers.
    If only they knew….

  17. JohnMcC says:

    @C. Clavin: Fascinating. Link?

  18. Tyrell says:

    I have studied some of this plan. There are some good things and some things that could be improved, changed, deleted, tuned, added, adjusted, and explained. No plan or program is perfect and should not just be cranked up, left to run on to indefinite infinity without at least a yearly audit by an independent firm.
    Now let me say this. I have heard from some health care workers and doctors who are very concerned about a new information system that was implemented a few months ago. They are describing this as a computer data and information program that requires huge amounts of information to be entered into a patient’s file. This is adding thirty minutes or more to each patient visit. Over a hundred bits of data must be entered just to check someone’s temperature. And this will start at hospitals in a couple of months. Maybe some of you are familiar with it or have heard about it. I am not saying this is part of the health care act, it may very well not be. And they say that it is harder to find important information about a patient. I don’t know about you, but I will not wait over 15 minutes past my appointment time at a doctor’s office of any kind. I tell them that going in. And I get quicker service than most. Some doctors and nurses actually think the paper file wss quicker and easier to use.

  19. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Remember Ted Cruz is not in the business of caring about anyone but Ted Cruz. It’s a scam that is working beyond his wildest dreams.

  20. Rick Almeida says:


    Was it Betsy McCaughey?

  21. PJ says:

    Too bad that your tinfoil hat doesn’t protect you from ailments….

    Over a hundred bits of data must be entered just to check someone’s temperature.

    A hundred bits? Wow, that’s about 13 bytes… I can’t see any modern computer system being able to cope with that…

  22. C. Clavin says:
  23. C. Clavin says:

    A hundred bits of information???
    Oh my…

  24. rudderpedals says:

    @Tyrell: You have a point. If you’re accustomed to working with paper all else being equal it probably is faster for that person to use paper (or a dictation machine). It just kicks the can down the road since someone else is going to have to spend time digitizing it for sharing to cut down on duplicate tests and balkanized records but I can see how it could really be a time waster.

    In a perfect world you go into the examining room and the basic instruments bluetooth or something to your file cutting down time and errors but there are probably reams of patents standing in the way to a rational open solution – oh, and that’d be one where you own your centralized medical history. /in my dreams

  25. michael reynolds says:

    Few things would make me happier than Ted Cruz becoming the GOP candidate in 2016. We wiped the floor with the last professional a-hole the GOP gave us, and we’ll do the same with this nasty creep.

  26. Ron Beasley says:


    Over a hundred bits of data must be entered just to check someone’s temperature.

    Are you serious? There was 16 bits of data for every letter you typed – yes thats letter – that comes to 6.25 letters.

  27. Dave D says:

    I am wondering in what world are House Republicans seemingly shocked that there aren’t the votes for this in the Senate? Have they lived in this country for the past 5 years? Of the course the Democratically controlled Senate is not willing to defund a key piece of legislation they threw a lot of political stock in. And even if in some alternate reality it did pass the Senate there is never going to be a situation in which they have the votes to override a veto. What the hell were these House members expecting? Was it the pied piper of Cruz and his “grassroots” movement that because he agitated their very gerrymandered bases somehow this would mean votes from Dems in the Senate? I mean the entire time I read this I can only think to myself, as a 26 yo in the midwest, how do I know more than the House leadership? Of course the Senate votes aren’t there, you lost the election, how is this a shock to you? They have no one to blame but themselves. When everyone in their narrow minded district hears that Cruz will defund Obamacare if they make enough noise and it causes them to believe the blatant BS my head is about to explode from the stupid.

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    Robert Costa at NR has a direct line to the freshest dirt. Link. My favorite part:

    House insiders say a handful of House Republicans cursed Cruz in the cloakroom on Wednesday, and a leadership source says angry e-mails were exchanged among GOP staffers who consider Cruz to be a charlatan. … “He’s an amateur.” Another aide says, “Nancy Pelosi is more well-liked around here.”

    What makes the drama fascinating is that all the players know that this sort of thing just makes Cruz look more and more exciting to the crazed base. Cruz is getting exactly what he wants, and he doesn’t care that he’s hurting the GOP, and neither do I.

    Some of the top-rated comments at NR:

    ” ‘I’m convinced there is a new paradigm in politics — the rise of the grassroots,’ Cruz says.”

    Exactly. And the ruling class in both parties is scared witless. Press on, Senator Cruz and allies, restore The Republic.


    Of course the “establishment” is slandering him…..he’s actually fighting for the people like the rest of these fraud Republicans should be doing. Its about time someone stepped up like Cruz and actually leads!!


    Cruz IS a threat! He is a threat to status quo Republican’s, the Leadership and RINO’S! He’s a threat to the Club, wherein many Members of Congress do not want things to change, except more power! But, mostly, he is a threat to the Dems because maybe, just maybe, Reps might just nominate a real Conservative and clean their clocks!!!

    Cruz really knows how to arouse these nuts. What a great show, and it’s only going to get better and better.

  29. labman57 says:

    Good ol’ Teddy Cruz is leading the charge to defund the ACA — an absolutely dumb idea, completely counter-productive, and a total f**king waste of time … but since when did that ever stop the tea party brown-nosing Senate Republicans and the House Republican majority?

    The GOP is something like “O for 41” in their efforts to repeal and/or defund the ACA.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, and tea party brown-nosers among the Congressional Republicans are becoming increasingly desperate in their efforts to undermine any and all progress in the current Congress.

    Ever since it was signed into law, the Congressional GOP has been determined to make their proclamation that “Obamacare is a failure” become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    The all-too-real fear was that the public would grow wise to all of their hype about “the socialist evils of Obamacare” and their prognostications regarding “the end of society as we know it” … once the legislation was fully implemented.

    They’re well past terrified — they are pretty much resigned to the realization that the nation will not fall asunder, insurance rates will drop significantly in those states that have implemented the policies, more people will be able to obtain affordable coverage, and the GOP will be peeling dried egg from their faces for the next two election cycles.

    The Republican Party leadership once again stands at a political precipice — this time in the form of an Ahab-esque obsession regarding the ACA, contemplating whether to back away slowly, oblivious of the mindless tea party stampede heading straight toward them that threatened to send the entire party over the cliff.

  30. mattbernius says:

    @Ron Beasley et al.:

    Are you serious? There was 16 bits of data for every letter you typed – yes thats letter – that comes to 6.25 letters.

    Ok, so while I think @Tyrell’s initial post is, at best, full of hyperbole, all of the tech folks on site seem to be latching onto “bits” as a technical term versus a colloquialism. I suspect that T. meant bits qua “stuff”.

    (Of course, I might also be missing the joke).

  31. Wow, the commentators on this blog love defending something that costs $3 trillion (CBO now says Obamacare cost $2 trillion, it will grow) and won’t work. I am blinded by your wisdom and insight. In the meantime Cruz can count, but you guys can’t. Good luck to all of you.

  32. Tyrell says:

    @Ron Beasley: Sorry for the mis-used term there. I should have used pieces of info or a hundred or so questions. Way too much for the assistants in a mid-sized doctor’s office to handle in a reasonable amount of time. I do not have first hand experience with this, I am going by what some of them have told me. Again, this is some new system that they said was required.

  33. Grewgills says:

    I am guessing your friends used the term 100 to simply mean a lot. A compliant system is already in place at Kaiser. It is considerably less that 100 pieces of information required for the first visit (unless you count each tic box as an item) and after that it is just the new info taken on a visit that is added. Every time I have gone to a new doctor for the last 20 years at least, I have had to fill out a similar form. They have had a computer in every exam room for years now. A nurse walks me in to the room. Asks a couple of questions about why I am there, types it in and I wait for the doctor. The doctor scans the record on comp after greeting me and any new info taken is added to the record. All in all, the time added to my visits is negligible and little to no book keeping is required after my visit since the information is already in the system.
    Every time a new system is put in place, no matter the change, people belly ache about how hard it will be and most of the time it isn’t really such a big deal.

  34. Grewgills says:

    To be more clear. Every new doctor I have gone to in my adult life has had a questionaire asking about medical history, drug allergies etc. If you add up every yes/no tick box it is over a hundred questions, but most of them are check or no check questions, so take very little time to input.

  35. Jc says:

    When a handful of people think you are brilliant, it’s amazing what you can become….Ted Cruz, that’s just….._________

  36. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @rudderpedals: In a perfect world you go into the examining room and the basic instruments bluetooth or something to your file cutting down time and errors but there are probably reams of patents standing in the way to a rational open solution – oh, and that’d be one where you own your centralized medical history. /in my dreams

    Your dreams, my experience going to the doctor in Korea.

  37. rudderpedals says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I didn’t know that. There are probably a hundred rationalizations as to why the US is just too darn proud and exceptional to learn from some other country’s experience.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:


    There are probably a hundred rationalizations as to why the US is just too darn proud and exceptional to learn from some other country’s experience.

    There is one that trumps all the others: “WE’RE AMURIKA! THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!”

  39. Woody says:


    Exactly correct.

    The Murdoch/Limbaugh/Bircher thinktank axis functions as an effective televangelism for fervent Believers. There is little, if any, information from non-Believers accepted nor disseminated within this group. Various charismatics preach an ideology that contains contradictions and miracles that are . . . of Biblical proportions.

    Traditional Republicans and right-leaning independents are in a quandary – on the one hand, anyone not fully vested in this worldview is certainly aware of how truly dangerous this new entity has become. Still, there are idiots who wear Free Mumia shirts, or play in drum circles, on the other side, and it’s hard anyway to admit their traditional congregation has been taken over by fabulists, Elmer Gantrys, and other charlatans. Hate to say it, but really, it’s up to them to end this madness, or to reward it with their continued support – or tacit acceptance.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @Let’s Be Free: How do you know it won’t work? How is it So Much More Terrible than what we had out there before? (Google “murder by spreadsheet” before you open your mouth.)

    I have too many friends who have been on a knife’s edge because a) running over the yearly or lifetime caps b) “prior conditions” or c) diabetes. All of which was enthusiastically jumped upon by health insurance providers to void coverage, reject paying out AFTER treatment was undertaken, or refuse to provide coverage in the first place. The Republicans, for all their squealing about how AWFUL Obamacare was, never addressed any of these problems. And don’t drag out that old red herring about medical tort claim limitations. Texas tried exactly what you have all been yelping about as providing a solution and none of the prices for health insurance ever went down.

    I feel I have a specialized soapbox from which to bitch because I am one of the very few Americans who has experienced other health care systems: 10 years in Japan and 2 years in the U.K. And I have to say I feel far more safe and comfortable under the Japanese health care system than the brain-damaged mess we have here in the U.S. The supposed superiority of our medical system means absolutely zilch if only the rich can access it.

  41. Todd says:


    Traditional Republicans and right-leaning independents are in a quandary –

    No doubt. I do also think some Democrats contribute to the problem too though. While it has proven somewhat effective in a few well publicized Senate races to hope that a Tea Party type get’s the Republican nomination, in gerrymandered relatively “safe” house races, I think the same idea is counter-productive.

    For example, I live in central Texas, in a fairly Conservative district. When I retire from the military in a couple of weeks, and register to vote locally (instead of my home of record in Florida), I’ll almost certainly register as a Republican … even though I oppose much of what the current party stands for. In districts like the one where I live, the primary is the election, why shouldn’t Roger Williams be just as concerned about how people like me might vote, as he is about the TP loons he currently thinks he represents?

  42. Woody says:


    Yes, good point. Should there be enough right-Democrats to make up for the far-right Republicans lost, a traditional Republican would win election.

    I happen to live in a district regularly Republican – but the district wouldn’t stand for a Bircher Republican. I happen to think Rep. Paulsen does a fine job – however, he doesn’t have to fear an activist right flank.

  43. SKI says:

    @Tyrell: As a Health Care Executiveand former consultant who has implemented 6 different systems across more than 20 different practice settings, you REALLY don’t know what you are talking about.

    “Meaningfully Using” EHRs is indeed disruptive but entering a temperature ranges from no clicks (linked device) to, at most, 6 or 7. And the effective requirement to use EHRs comes from the HITECH Act passed under GWB.

  44. Pinky says:

    Hey – I just got spam-blocked for seconding jukeboxgrad’s recommendation of Robert Costa. Don’t know why. (OK, sure, I may have included a link to a great site to get male enhancement pills at a low, low cost, but that can’t be wrong, can it?)

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    Long ago a strange bug was reported here, where if you replied to me you would get spam-blocked. Sounds weird, I know, but that’s what certain people described. So try your post again, but without using the Reply feature.

  46. rudderpedals says:

    What graduate said. Also links made with either the link macro button above or manual href anchorage seems to set off the filter when the same link pasted as a simple URL makes it.

  47. KM says:

    My thoughts on the griping about the “100 bits or so”:

    Most medical personnel over a certain age are not tech-literate and are massively resistant to becoming so. The hospital I recently worked at still had whole floors with DOS and Windows 98, for god’s sake!! There was no centralized or standardized programs; everyone ran “what they’re comfortable with” and positions that should have a specific level of tech expertise had individuals grandfathered in that were decidedly not up to speed. My job was to hold basic classes in relatively modern programs and specialty medical ones to bring everyone kicking and screaming into the new millennium. I had an absolutely ABYSMAL attendance. Doctors and nurses refused to learn; when told they could lose their job over this, they chose to quit rather then update!!! My own mother left her job of 38 years rather then learn “that damn computer”, stating she was not a secretary, dammit!.

    People get stuck in their ways. Sometimes shamefully so. It might be that there are tech dinosaurs that need to leave the profession before some real progress is made.

  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    links made with either the link macro button above or manual href anchorage seems to set off the filter

    I do fine with links formed in BBedit. I think the current limit is five per comment.

  49. Tyrell says:

    @KM: Whst I would like to know is if we are allowed access to our medical records or is this closed to patients ?

  50. KM says:


    I suppose I would need a clarification. You are certainly able to request any and all of your records- after all, it’s your data and is covered under the Patient’s Bill of Rights. However, if you are asking to be able to see the data in the computer itself (access to the system or observe someone type info in), I would state no as it is a HIPAA violation. You would be issued a copy, not granted first-person access. The rationale is you as a non-HIPAA bound individual are a potential threat to another’s data. As you are not allowed to see even another’s ZIP code (can pin down individuals in less populated counties), the risk is too great. There was a secretary that got a neurological institute fined $10,000+ as she emailed out a list that just had non-blinded addresses with no other medical info referenced.

    Does that make sense? Or do you need more?

  51. Pinky says:

    Just kidding about the links. Good to know about jukebox. Better oversensitive filters than site crashes.