Cruz: McConnell Told ‘Flat-Out Lie’ to Conservatives

Some Republicans erupt after majority leader announces a vote on attaching Ex-Im Bank reauthorization to the highway bill.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks after meeting with Republican senators regarding a bipartisan solution for the pending budget and debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate announced that it had reached a bipartisan deal on funding the federal government and the extending the nation's debt limit after 16 days of a government shutdown.
National Journal
July 24, 2015, 7:03 a.m.

In a strik­ing breach of typ­ic­al Sen­ate de­cor­um, Sen. Ted Cruz sug­ges­ted the Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­an lead­er was a li­ar on the cham­ber floor Fri­day over an eco­nom­ic is­sue that in­flames con­ser­vat­ive act­iv­ists.

“I can­not be­lieve he would tell a flat-out lie,” said Cruz, a 2016 pres­id­en­tial con­tender, on the Sen­ate floor. “What we just saw today was an ab­so­lute demon­stra­tion that, not only what he told every Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or, but what he told the press over and over and over again was a simple lie.”

Cruz’s tar­get, Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, an­nounced Fri­day that there would be a vote on reau­thor­iz­ing the Ex­port-Im­port Bank, which has helped fin­ance U.S. ex­ports for 81 years. In June, the bank’s charter ex­pired amid con­ser­vat­ive op­pos­i­tion and right-wing claims that it rep­res­ents, as Cruz said Fri­day, a “clas­sic ex­ample of cronyism and cor­por­ate wel­fare.” Cruz has claimed that Mc­Con­nell told him and oth­ers that there was not a “deal” to hold a vote on Ex-Im dur­ing last month’s de­bate over free trade.

Mc­Con­nell also an­nounced Fri­day a vote on an amend­ment to re­peal Obama­care, al­though that failed to as­suage con­ser­vat­ives. Cruz called it “empty show­man­ship,” as it will ob­vi­ously fail to reach the 60-vote threshold. Sen. Jeff Ses­sions de­scribed the two amend­ments called up as “busi­ness as usu­al in the Sen­ate” and a form of “horse-trad­ing.”

“I think we’re spend­ing a lot of time on in­side base­ball [on] what big busi­ness want and oth­er people want, in­stead of ask­ing what the av­er­age Amer­ic­an wants. We need to do bet­ter about that,” he ad­ded.

But many sen­at­ors will be happy to vote on the Ex-Im Bank; 65 sen­at­ors voted in fa­vor of it in a test vote last month. Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, a Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate who rep­res­ents South Car­o­lina, a state with a heavy pres­ence of Ex-Im’s top be­ne­fi­ciary, Boe­ing, told Na­tion­al Journ­al, “This is great.”

“That was the agree­ment we had,” he said. “Mitch prom­ised a vote on the high­way bill, which is a must-pass bill, and he kept his word as he al­ways does. So I think we’ll get clo­ture and it will pass.”

Out­side of pres­id­en­tial cam­paign the­at­rics, the amend­ments to the high­way bill may not mat­ter much: The House has passed its own ver­sion, a five-month patch that Con­gress could re­sort to in or­der to fund the na­tion’s trans­port­a­tion pro­jects ahead of a cru­cial end of the month spend­ing dead­line.

And as for Cruz’s ac­cus­a­tions, Utah Sen. Or­rin Hatch, the most seni­or Re­pub­lic­an in the cham­ber, said to “keep in mind he’s run­ning for pres­id­ent.”

“I don’t con­done the use of that kind of lan­guage against an­oth­er sen­at­or un­less they can show defin­it­ive proof that there was a lie,” he ad­ded. “And I know the lead­er didn’t lie.”

Mc­Con­nell’s of­fice did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

This art­icle has been up­dated.

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