Ted Cruz Doubles Down On His Failed Obamacare Strategy

Ted Cruz wants his fellow Republicans to follow him down the rabbit hole again.

Ted Cruz

Despite the fact that the plan he, along with other legislators such as Senator Mike Lee and people like The Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint, had developed to attempt to force the Democrat’s hand on the Affordable Care Act has failed miserably, Senator Ted Cruz is not giving up. Today on CNN’s State of the Union, he called on his fellow Republicans to tie the law into any proposal to increase the nation’s borrowing limit:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday said changes to President Obama’s signature healthcare law should be tied to a debt ceiling increase.

The Texas Republican said any deal on raising the nation’s borrowing authority should include some “significant structural” plans to reduce government spending, avoid new taxes and “look for ways to mitigate the harm from ObamaCare.”

“The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the executive,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Of the 55 times Congress has raised the debt limit, Cruz argued that 28 of those times Congress has attached “very stringent requirements,” many designed to reduce spending, including the 2011 sequestration plan.

So, a debt-ceiling increase should “respond to real harms coming from ObamaCare,” Cruz said.

Cruz said Republicans have leverage because of “so many nasty partisan jabs from Democrats” proving that “we’re winning the argument —Obamacare isn’t working.”

I suppose one must give Cruz some kind  of credit for consistency here.  He faced a storm of criticism prior to September 30th from many House Republicans and from stalwarts of fiscal conservatism in the Senate such as Tom Coburn that his proposal that Congress should not pass a bill to fund the government unless it included language defunding (or, eventually delaying implementation of) the Affordable Care Act. Notwithstanding his 21 hour long filibuster, that plan failed just as everyone who was criticizing it correctly predicted it would. At the same time, though, he was able to rile enough anger with the party base and the Tea Party crowd in the House that he ended up locking the House GOP Leadership in a hopeless cycle where they kept sending bills to the Senate that had absolutely no chance of surviving. As a result, the Government shut down and its remained shut down since 12:01am on the morning of October 1st. Meanwhile, polling continues to indicate that the Republican Party is getting the majority of the blame for this ongoing crisis and there doesn’t appear to be any resolution insight before we start bumping up against the October 16th projected date on which the nation will officially run out of authority either borrow money or engage in the kind of accounting moves that could delay and negative consequences of not having that authority. By all measures except those that concentrate on the personal political fortunes of Ted Cruz inside a particular segment o the Republican Party, the plan has clearly been a spectacular failure. Nonetheless, Cruz retains his purity and now suggests that his party try what seems to be the same basic strategy with regard to the debt ceiling.

In the interview, Cruz doesn’t specify what kind of measures he thinks the party should propose when it comes to Obamacare, but one has to assume that it goes far beyond the repeal of the medical device tax currently rumored to be part of a plan that the House GOP Leadership is working on rolling out to the public. For example, National Review Capitol Hill Reporter Robert Costa has reported in recent days that one Republican in the House has told him that any bill that doesn’t include at least a one year delay in the PPACA’s individual mandate would start out with 30-50 Republican “No” votes, which would put it below the 217 needed to pass the House on what one presumes would be a mostly party line vote. Other possible provisions that Cruz likely has in mind would be elimination of the largely non-existent “Congressional exemption” to the PPACA. Quite obviously, neither of these provisions would have any chance of making it to the President’s desk, and the President would likely veto the bill if they did. In the meantime, playing another round of pointless hardball like this would likely rebound negatively on the GOP and make it far less likely that Senate Democrats, or the President, will be willing to deal in any respect. Instead, they’d just sit back and let the GOP hang itself with rope provided by the Freshman Senator from Texas.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    Again, Ted Cruz is the Manchurian candidate.
    All along his parents’ plan (his real father is Fidel Castro) was for him to become President and then tank the US economy, but since he got a lucky break he’s abandoning the original plan (he’s not stupid, he understands that Republicans aren’t going to win the Presidency anytime soon.) and instead has decided to make the US default.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Into the Tea Abyss……………………………. “Because there´s money down there!”

  3. David M says:

    What’s wrong with the rest of the GOP that they keep listening to this snake oil salesman?

  4. mattbernius says:

    National Review Capitol Hill Reporter Robert Costa has reported in recent days that one Republican in the House has told him that any bill that doesn’t include at least a one year delay in the PPACA’s individual mandate would start out with 30-50 Republican “No” votes, which would put it below the 217 needed to pass the House on what one presumes would be a mostly party line vote.

    This is the heart of the issue. The base has been told that this is the last moment to stop Obamacare. Taking out the Medical Device Tax or the Congressional “Exception” doesn’t do that. The Mandate does.

    Again, as Steven pointed out earlier this week, Cruz and his supporters position has always been for a “capitulation” clothed as a “compromise.”

    The result is any actual compromise solution (which frankly they started out with in that the Dem’s agreed to a CR at the Sequester funding levels) will appear as a Republican/Conservative capitulation to a significant portion base (not to mention Conservative Congresspersons).

    The relative weakness of the Republican party has taken away any ability for them to actually offer a “strong” compromise. And I think that the Dem’s recognize this and believe that as long as Cruz is this vocal and has vocal support, they’ve won the PR war.

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Ted Cruz is that guy in the movie who you hope is stopped before he can evict the children with cancer from their assisted-living group home.

    No matter how you look at it, as the de-facto leader of the House, Senator Ted Cruz is for now a force to be dealt with. I think he believes that Democrats will eventually blink, that Democrats will do just about anything to avert a default. Not only that, I’m sure he believes that Republicans face virtually no negative electoral consequences if there is a “temporary” default on American bonds. The mid-terms are nearly upon us and current numbers show that the GOP will keep the House and might gain seats in the Senate. A case can be made that the GOP is not sinking, rather they are rising.

  6. mattbernius says:

    @David M:

    What’s wrong with the rest of the GOP that they keep listening to this snake oil salesman?

    The issue is *not* that the rest of the GOP is listening to Cruz. That’s misunderstanding the problem.

    The issue is that a significant minority of the GOP is listening to Cruz AND that the GOP is, as a whole, in a weakened and fractured state. Net result is that the remaining core GOP factions are not able, for a number of interrelated reasons, to form a united challenge against Cruz and co.

    In a weak/disorganized party, the most forceful faction, regardless of size, typically ends up in control.

    Recalling scripture, after sowing the wind, they are now reaping the whirlwind.

  7. john personna says:

    Boehner also seems to be giving extortion one last shot.

    Let’s hope it dies quickly, as banks and Wall Street call in.

  8. becca says:

    Koch money drives the tea party. Wall Street is more establishment GOP.

    Boehner is stuck in the middle of The Clash of the Titans

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    Ted Cruz is a terrorist far more dangerous than any al-Qaeda leader. Calling Seal Team 6!

  10. legion says:

    @David M:

    What’s wrong with the rest of the GOP that they keep listening to this snake oil salesman?

    If Boehner were in any sense a competent leader, he would be able to go to any (every!) House Republican and tell them “If you think for one minute Ted Frigging Cruz has _your_ best interests at heart when he tells you to ignore everything except what he tells you to do, you’re a g*ddam moron!”

    But we all know that will never happen, so Cruz can continue on his Quixotic path. Why should he change, when the House GOP will pay all the costs? Hell, he’s already _both_ a Senator _and_ the most powerful man in the House of Representatives!

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    @legion: You get to the big problem the Republican Party has no real leadership. This is a legacy of the Bush/Cheney administration – they didn’t want strong leadership in Congress they wanted people who would jump when they said jump. Trent Lott was a victim of this – they didn’t come to his defense.

  12. Kylopod says:

    @al-Ameda:

    The mid-terms are nearly upon us and current numbers show that the GOP will keep the House and might gain seats in the Senate.

    Based on historical precedent, demographic turnout, and Republican redistricting, next year’s midterms certainly favor the GOP–but that doesn’t mean their current antics are in any way helping matters. It’s safe to say that if they win both houses of Congress next year, it will be in spite of, not because of, what’s going on right now.

    We have to realize that nobody is going to come out of this situation happy (except maybe the right-wing hucksters cashing in on it). Dems and independents are going to be hopping mad, non-insane Repubs (assuming there are any left) will realize it wasn’t worth it, and the teabaggers will be upset and dispirited that it didn’t lead to the end of Obamacare (though they’ll blame establishment Repubs for surrendering too quickly). Meanwhile, it will harm the economy, which is never a good situation for incumbents seeking reelection.

    Does this mean the House Republicans are doomed next year? Hardly. What it does mean is that they seem to be doing everything in their power to put their presumed electoral immunity to the test.

  13. rudderpedals says:

    @Ron Beasley: I agree. I think this is now straight up maneuvering to replace Senate GOP leadership.

  14. Todd says:

    Maybe some of my Conservative friends have been “right” all along. Instead of looking for a post-military job, I should be stocking up on ammo and MREs … you know, just in case things really do go to hell in a hurry.

  15. Argon says:

    @Todd:
    You should be *selling* ammo and MREs. The Tea Party crowd is a great market for that stuff.

  16. al-Ameda says:

    LOOK AT IT THIS WAY:
    It won’t be long before someone other than Mitch McConnell is the GOP Senate leader, and someone other than John Boehner is the GOP House leader – and it’s going to get a whole lot worse.

  17. Medusa says:

    Way to foster discussion… place a negative slant on the issue with a slanted and biased “headline” , then wait for the rabid idiot liberals to affirm your silly characterization. Way to stay alive Mataconis. Honor and Honesty are obviously not a part of your personal creed.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    Way to foster discussion…

    Oh yes, it would so much better to paint Cruz as the leader who will take the Teabaggers to the land of glory…you know what’s worse than an alleged “negative slant”? A delusional slant…

    Honor and Honesty are obviously not a part of your personal creed.

    That’s hysterical coming from someone who probably thinks that the president and Democrats are responsible for this mess…you’re either disingenuous or delusional…perhaps you’re both…

  19. al-Ameda says:

    @Medusa:

    Way to foster discussion… place a negative slant on the issue with a slanted and biased “headline” , then wait for the rabid idiot liberals to affirm your silly characterization. Way to stay alive Mataconis. Honor and Honesty are obviously not a part of your personal creed.

    Wow, that was prodigiously lame, even by your every day low standards. Congratulations.

  20. maggie says:

    What a lot of non-Tea party/hard right conservatives people don’t seem to know, (and I know only because I am the ONLY registered Independent in my family/circle of friends) is that these people, like Mr. Cruz, truly believe that any day congressional members fail to enact a law, is a good day.. They also believe that non-productivity is a thing to be valued in their congressional representatives/senators. locking down govt is their idea of victory. They do not want democracy, they want anarchy, of the “Christian” variety…. which from what my bible tells me, their belief system is anything but Christ-like.

    Ironically, most of them ( in my circle) believe that ‘entitlement’ programs” that aid poor, low class, possibly” non-Christian” people is the problem, while right thinking people such as themselves are entitled to all the government handouts they can get their hands on through hook or crook. They believe the poor should not get help with groceries or college, but default on their own college loans, are first in line for a federal handout in any situation, etc. I have seen this first hand repeatedly and shake my head in amazement.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    Thank you, Ted Cruz, for helping China become the top country of the world. Chinese must be grinning from ear to ear.