Ted Cruz Working To Undermine Boehner’s Plan On Budget, Debt Ceiling

Ted Cruz is going after the Speaker of the House.

Ted Cruz

Not content with having lost in the Senate, and event which was easily forseeable, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is now apparently working behind the scenes with Tea Party alligned members of the House to undermine the alternative plan that Speaker Boehner and the rest of the Leadership has been trying to sell to the GOP Caucus:

On a Thursday conference call, a group of House conservatives consulted with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas about how to respond to the leadership’s fiscal strategy. Sources who were on the call say Cruz strongly advised them to oppose it, and hours later, Speaker John Boehner’s plan fizzled.

It’s the latest example of Cruz leading the House’s right flank.

The private call came together after Boehner unveiled his strategy at a Republican conference meeting earlier this week. Boehner’s plan — to focus on a debt-limit package, rather than a drawn-out CR battle — made many conservatives uneasy. As they mulled a response, they reached out to Cruz.

On the call, Cruz told them that Boehner was making a mistake, and urged his friends to fight until the end on the CR. The group agreed, and they complained that Boehner’s shift to the debt limit was a diversion. Senator Mike Lee of Utah joined Cruz on the call, and both senators said they’d stand with House conservatives as they opposed the leadership.

By the call’s end, there was a consensus: until the CR talks are complete, Republicans should whip “no” on Boehner’s debt-limit plan, as a way of preventing the leadership from directing the strategy.

That comes via National Review Congressional reporter Robert Costa who expanded on the cross-Chamber war going on in the Halls of Congress on his Twitter feed even while the Senate was voting this afternoon:

 

 

 

So there you have it, someone who has been in the Senate less than a year is working with Tea Party Members of Congress in the House to stab the Speaker, who’s been around since the 1980s, and the rest of the House GOP leadership, who have been around for a decade or more themselves, in the back. All in the name of ideological purity and, of course, enhancing the image of Ted Cruz and others among the GOP base. What they are trying to do isn’t really a serious policy proposal any more than the “defund” plan was a serious possibility. The Senate is never going to agree to it and neither is the Presidents. Indeed, one could say the same thing about the “wish list” of items that the leadership wants to attach to a debt ceiling increase, but at least in that case they aren’t essentially willing a government shutdown to happen on Monday night by insisting that it be tied to the Continuing Resolution. Additionally, one gets the sense that the Leadership knows that they aren’t going to get 100% of what they’re asking for, but it would at last be a start in negotiations with the Senate and the President (and, yes, despite what the President is saying there will be negotiations just like their were negotiations during the Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43 years). The Tea Party crowd, though, gives no indication of being willing to negotiate at all. For them, it’s all or nothing, even if that means shutting the government down for who knows how long starting at Midnight Tuesday.

One thing that strikes me about this, though, is the old adage that if you’re going to go after the King, you’d better taken him out the first time. If Cruz and the Tea Party crowd in the House fail in this effort, and it’s likely that they will, then they’re going to find themselves out on a ledge all alone. Indeed, one gets the impression that some of Cruz’s allies in the Senate recognize this. Senator Rand Paul, for example, is clearly distancing himself from Cruz’s efforts with regard to the House of Representatives and it doesn’t appear that Mike Lee is involved either. This seems to all be Cruz’s baby. If he fails, then he’s going to end up with a lot of egg on his face and even fewer friends in Washington than he already has.

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. RiverRat says:

    Well, it’s clear you’re “inside the beltway” or a stealth progressive while writing this scat. This use be a good site…not anymore.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    “Not content with having lost in the Senate . . ”

    Totally unfair, Cruz was on a roll in the Senate, but then Brian McCann stood in the way and blocked him.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Ted Cruz is definitely someone with a lot of ambition.

    To be honest Doug, I have been surprised that Boehner has NOT been deposed as Speaker. I’ve often wondered if the logical heir -Eric Cantor – just does not want the speakership right now, that he finds it to his advantage to let Boehner do the heavy lifting, and twist in the wind and take the heat (inadvertent rotisserie analogy).

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @RiverRat:

    Well, it’s clear you’re “inside the beltway” or a stealth progressive while writing this scat. This use be a good site…not anymore.

    Well it’s clear to me that you have absolutely no idea of the moderator’s politics.

  5. john personna says:

    I have trouble seeing what “success” for Cruz would look like. Debt default? And then the hope that more of the stink would attach to Obama? The lame duck who never faces another election?

    “Success” can only damage current players and no new Democratic presidential candidates?

    A plan to take the Senate? Again, I don’t think the stink will flow that way.

  6. legion says:

    @RiverRat: Nice trolling there, buddy. Whose staff are you on?

  7. legion says:

    Republicans should whip “no” on Boehner’s debt-limit plan, as a way of preventing the leadership from directing the strategy.

    It’s clear from this entire clusterf*ck that nobody in the House caucus has the foggiest idea what the term “leadership” means.

  8. john personna says:

    Maybe Teas have rehearsed default as success so many times that they forget it is failure.

  9. Ernieyeball says:

    Citizen Cruz should tell any Tee Pee ers out there who are retired and drawing Social Security or are expecting Medicare to pay for their health care to voluntarily refuse those payments.
    This will make them as ideologically pure as the driven snow!

  10. mantis says:

    Terrorists don’t negotiate. They destroy.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If he fails, then he’s going to end up with a lot of egg on his face and even fewer friends in Washington than he already has.

    Heh heh…. that will be GREEN EGGS on his face, with a little bit of ham.

  12. rod mantia says:

    disclaimer..imma progressive liberal.
    cruz reminds me of the new kid in school. he ingratiates himself into the big clique to be accepted then invites all the non clique posers s to the party so he can trash the place and shift the blame to others. either way..his success or his failure is bad for regular americans. my question is this…with the bent to achueve ideological purity in the dying cinservative philosophy…why would any true conservative follow a nation hopping commie kid? unless…..

  13. Scott F. says:

    Let’s be clear – a government shutdown of most any duration is INFINITELY preferable to a default on the nation’s debt.

    IMO, if you let the TPers shoot their wad on the Continuing Resolution, then you decrease the likelihood they will want to pay the same game again with the debt limit increase on October 15th. 2 weeks of constituents calling your offices and asking you why they can’t get the services they want (but conveniently forget they receive whenever taxes come up) will do that to you.

  14. Scott says:

    There is hardball to be played on Boehner’s part if he wanted to. Committee assignments, pork gone missing, etc. Same on the Senate side. It may depend on how pissed off he gets. However, he is one of the grownups regardless whether you agree with him at all. So he may just take it. However, as they say, payback’s a bitch.

  15. James Pearce says:

    Surely, John Boehner knew he was going to be eaten last….If not, he should have.

    An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
    – Winston Churchill

  16. Jeremy R says:

    yes, despite what the President is saying there will be negotiations

    Well, if this is a negotiation, and not an extortion, then where is the Dem’s wishlist that they’ll be getting in return for the GOP’s? The debt ceiling clearly shouldn’t be considered as it’s mandatory to pass for any congressperson with even a sliver of patriotism. It would be one thing if the GOP was negotiating over their share of an unpopular vote, as has been done in the past, but we all know the Dems will be carrying the debt ceiling vote again no matter what the resolution to this looks like.

  17. Ron Beasley says:

    I imagine that Boehner is negotiating Pelosi and the Democrats about now. I suspect he is being pressured by big business and Wall Street to do it. Part of the negotiation probably involves the Democrats voting for him when his own party tries to take away his speakership. The Democrats should be willing to do that because the Republican replacement for Boehner would be much worse.

  18. Jc says:

    Cruz is good at what he does. He wants to take charge. What is the first thing you do when you are an intelligent narcissist walking into a room with weak leaders? You move to take control, and as a 42 year old Senator without even a year’s experience, Ted is doing just that. To the rightwing that believes Obama is an egomaniacal narcissist, This guy’s ego is far beyond anything. He will shutdown the Gov just to say he did it, just like his 21hr talkathon, it was meaningless, but got him in the top 5 of all time. He should scare you no matter what party you prefer

  19. Anonne says:

    It’s clear from this entire clusterf*ck that nobody in the House caucus has the foggiest idea what the term “leadership” means.

    It’s clear that they don’t know what the term “democracy” means, or “governance.”

  20. Xenos says:

    @Ron Beasley: I suppose it depends on how the ballotting for the new speaker would work. If there is a real split in the GOP side then Nqncy could win the plurality. It would not make for a very workable house, but would be some sweet political humiliqtion for the GOP.

  21. Jeremy R says:

    Chait:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/09/debt-ceiling-showdown-the-fight-of-obamas-life.html

    Republican Dana Rohrabacher defended the use of debt-ceiling threats to pry concessions from Obama like so: “People have to recognize there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high. In our society, that’s the nature of democratic government.” That is completely false. American political parties have forged compromises for decades without high-stakes threats to bring them to the table. Not to mention the fact that, by “compromise,” Rohrabacher means unilateral concessions by the president.

    Part of the confusion is that the debt ceiling used to be an opportunity for the opposing party to denounce the fiscal irresponsibility of the president. On occasion, but not usually, debt-ceiling hikes have been appended onto budget agreements that were negotiated on their own terms. What’s completely novel is Congress using the threat of a debt default to force the president to make unilateral policy concessions. The conventions of he-said, she-said journalism have allowed this radical development to insinuate itself into the routine backdrop of partisan squabbling.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jeremy R:

    Part of the confusion is that the debt ceiling used to be an opportunity for the opposing party to denounce the fiscal irresponsibility of the president.

    BWAAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAAAHAHAA…… gasp… wheeze…

    Hey Dana, read yer constitushion lately??? I suggest you start with Art 1, Sec8. It begins,

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    and ends,

    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

    Idiot.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jeremy R:

    Well, if this is a negotiation, and not an extortion, then where is the Dem’s wishlist that they’ll be getting in return for the GOP’s?

    Got it right here for you:

    Demand:

    1) Single payer health care.

    2) Carbon tax.

    3) Path to citizenship.

    4) End sequestration.

    5) End Bush tax cuts above $259K.

    6) Wall Street tax.

    7) Nancy Pelosi made Speaker.

    Alex Seitz-Wald via Greg Sargent

  24. Terrye Cravens says:

    Cruz might think he is flying high now, but I have a feeling that he will not be such a big shot if all of this blows up in his face, and it will. I am so disgusted with both parties right now.