Ted Cruz: Republicans Shouldn’t Fear a Government Shutdown Over Immigration

The senator says the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare didn’t hurt his party at the polls. So why should the GOP fear one over immigration?

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) walks through the U.S. Capitol, October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Democrats and Republicans are still at a stalemate on funding for the federal government as the shut down goes into third day.
National Journal
Nov. 23, 2014, 5:01 a.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz is threat­en­ing to re­prise his role as a cata­lyst to a gov­ern­ment shut­down, ar­guing on Sunday that Con­gress should use spend­ing bills to block Pres­id­ent Obama’s re­cent ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion on im­mig­ra­tion.

Cruz re­but­ted sug­ges­tions that hold­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ing host­age in or­der to pre­vent Obama’s plan halt­ing the de­port­a­tion of mil­lions of un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants from tak­ing ef­fect would hurt the GOP.

“At the time you and a lot of folks in the press said what a dis­aster it was to stand up to Obama­care,” Cruz told Fox News’ Chris Wal­lace. “Let me point out, we just had a his­tor­ic elec­tion where we won nine seats in the Sen­ate, we re­tired Harry Re­id, we just got the biggest ma­jor­ity in the House since the 1920s, and the biggest is­sue we cam­paigned on was Obama­care.”

Cruz ad­ded: “Re­pub­lic­ans need to ac­tu­ally do what we say we’ll do.”¦ It was not a mis­take for Re­pub­lic­ans to stand up and fight Obama­care.”

Cruz spe­cific­ally is ad­voc­at­ing for Con­gress to re­fuse to fund the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cur­ity, the agency charged with im­mig­ra­tion en­force­ment. Obama may veto any fund­ing bill that omits DHS, which would po­ten­tially set up an­oth­er par­tis­an clash that could spir­al in­to an­oth­er shut­down.

Some Re­pub­lic­ans see such a tac­tic as fool­hardy. Re­pub­lic­an strategist Charlie Black told Na­tion­al Journ­al last week that a gov­ern­ment shut­down would be a waste of time.

“It does not ac­com­plish any­thing. You can­not get the pres­id­ent to make a con­ces­sion,” Black said. “Why even take a polit­ic­al risk if there is no achiev­able goal?”

Cruz is widely con­sidered a chief ar­chi­tect of the shut­down last year, which las­ted 16 days and promp­ted an in­def­in­ite fur­lough of some 800,000 fed­er­al em­ploy­ees after Con­gress failed to pass le­gis­la­tion ap­pro­pri­at­ing funds for fisc­al 2014.

Cruz also told Wal­lace in­com­ing Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell should re­fuse to con­sider any of Obama’s ex­ec­ut­ive nom­in­a­tions “oth­er than vi­tal na­tion­al se­cur­ity po­s­i­tions,” which would in­clude his new at­tor­ney gen­er­al nom­in­ee, un­less the ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tion is res­cin­ded.

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