Ted Cruz Admits There Aren’t Enough Votes For His Government Shutdown Scheme
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has conceded that his proposal to threaten a government shutdown unless the President agrees to defund the Affordable Care Act, or delay its implementation, doesn’t have enough votes:
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has crafted a plan to put the government’s finances on the line if President Barack Obama’s health care plan isn’t stripped of its funding, said in an interview this week there aren’t enough Republicans on board currently to make his idea a reality.
“We do not have the votes right now,” Cruz said, noting that to succeed, he’d need 41 senators or 218 representatives to get behind his legislation – which would provide a year of funding for the federal government, minus Obamacare.
But the Texas Republican, speaking with CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on “State of the Union,” argued a coming “grass-roots tsunami” would bring over fellow conservatives to his side in the next month.
“I’m convinced there’s a new paradigm in politics, that actually has Washington very uncomfortable. And it has politicians in both parties very uncomfortable,” he said. “And that new paradigm is the rise of the grass roots, the ability of grass-roots activists to demand of their elected officials they do the right thing.”
Opponents of Cruz’s effort say he’s risking a government shutdown in order to repeal Obama’s health law, and argue the president would never sign a measure defunding the signature legislation of his five years in office.
But Cruz casts the effort differently: Democrats, he said, would be the ones shutting the government down if they refuse to support a measure that funds all federal programs except Obamacare.
“President Obama, Harry Reid, will scream and holler that the mean, nasty Republicans are threatening to shut down the government. And at that point, Republicans have to do something we haven’t done in a long time – stand up and win the argument,” he said.
“We have voted to keep the government open, to fund the government,” Cruz continued. “Why is President Obama threatening to shut the government down to force Obamacare down the the throats of the American people?”
Cruz’s claim that the public would see the Democrats and the President as the ones shutting down the government in this scenario is, to put it mildly, incredibly naive. Whenever we have run up against one of these shutdown threats in the past, polling has consistently showed that the public opposes the idea of a government shutdown regardless of the reason for it, and that it’s the Republicans who have ended up getting most of the blame for the entire episode. There’s really no reason to think that things would be any different this time around.
We’ll see how this battle turns out in September, but given the fact that Cruz and his supporters don’t seem to have been able to use the August recess to their advantage, and that the House GOP leadership remains opposed to the idea, it seems rather unlikely that this will end up being anything more than an idle threat that accomplished little more than getting Ted Cruz in front of the cameras. Then again, maybe that’s what the purpose of this thing was all along.