Ted Cruz: Reid Won’t Talk. Senate Republicans: Reid’s Talking

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to reporters before going into the Senate Chamber to vote, on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. The shut down is currently in it's 12th day.
National Journal
Michael Catalin
Add to Briefcase
Michael Catalin
Oct. 12, 2013, 12:44 p.m.

Look for no white flag from Sen. Ted Cruz’s Obama­care bar­ri­cade.

As Sen­ate eld­ers grasp the reins of the de­bate to re­open gov­ern­ment and ex­tend the debt lim­it, Cruz has not budged an inch from the po­s­i­tion he made fam­ous weeks ago, when he and his al­lies spoke on the Sen­ate floor for al­most a full day.

“Pres­id­ent Obama and the Demo­crats re­fuse to ne­go­ti­ate,” Cruz said, ex­it­ing a closed-door meet­ing of Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans on Sat­urday. “Re­pub­lic­ans in the House are work­ing to fund vi­tal pri­or­it­ies and they’re also work­ing to provide mean­ing­ful re­lief to the mil­lions of people across this coun­try who have lost their jobs, who have lost their health care be­cause of Obama­care.”

Cruz crisply de­livered his well-worn state­ment to a hand­ful of re­port­ers, even as his col­leagues flooded the Ohio Clock cor­ridor out­side the Sen­ate cham­ber to de­liv­er an­oth­er mes­sage en­tirely: Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell and Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id are now talk­ing, and the House can vote on what the Sen­ate sends it.

Gone is the talk of mini-con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tions and the in­sist­ence that Demo­crats ne­go­ti­ate be­cause, as nu­mer­ous Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors said, those talks are now in­deed un­der way.

“The real con­ver­sa­tion that mat­ters now is the one that’s tak­ing place between Mc­Con­nell and Re­id,” said Sen. Bob Cork­er, R-Tenn.

The think­ing among Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans, es­pe­cially those who dis­agreed with Cruz’s strategy from the start, is that it’s time to make a deal. Re­pub­lic­ans al­ways ex­pec­ted to gain spend­ing or en­ti­tle­ment con­ces­sions from the White House over the debt lim­it, and they’re still hope­ful they can achieve a vic­tory.

Re­pub­lic­ans are even hag­gling in pub­lic.

“If you asked me if I wanted a six-month CR I’d say we’d prob­ably get there but I’d rather have a 12-month CR,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “That would be the nor­mal view of our con­fer­ence. Say a 90-day debt ceil­ing or I’d rather see a 60-day debt ceil­ing in­crease so we can come back and vis­it that.”

While a pro­pos­al from Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., gained early trac­tion and in­cluded a delay of a med­ic­al-device tax that par­tially funds Obama­care, the dis­cus­sion among key Re­pub­lic­ans has shif­ted away from the health care law.

“In the end, Sen­at­or Mc­Con­nell and Sen­at­or Re­id have to come up with re­com­mend­a­tion for us about how to open the gov­ern­ment, how to pay our bills by rais­ing the debt lim­it and how to re­duce the debt,” said Sen. Lamar Al­ex­an­der, R-Tenn., who joined Re­id, Mc­Con­nell, and Sen. Chuck Schu­mer, D-N.Y., at a 9 a.m. meet­ing on Sat­urday to open the dis­cus­sion.

Re­pub­lic­ans still re­vile the health care law, but their fo­cus has clearly shif­ted to whatever lever­age they have on the debt ceil­ing.

“The most im­port­ant as­pect of this is hold­ing the line on spend­ing and get­ting the ap­pro­pri­ations pro­cess to work. I’m one who thought we ought to have a budget con­fer­ence and would like to see that hap­pen,” said Sen. Jerry Mor­an, R-Kan.

How Cruz will pitch his next battle over the Af­ford­able Care Act is not clear, but he says he’s still telling his col­leagues in the House and Sen­ate to con­tin­ue the it­er­at­ive pro­cess of passing piece­meal con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tions and to fo­cus on un­do­ing the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture le­gis­lat­ive achieve­ment.

“That’s what our fo­cus should be and that’s what I’m ur­ging people both privately and pub­licly to do,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
Morning Consult Poll: Clinton Decisively Won Debate
2 days ago

"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."

Trump Draws Laughs, Boos at Al Smith Dinner
3 days ago

After a lighthearted beginning, Donald Trump's appearance at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York "took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton."

McMullin Leads in New Utah Poll
3 days ago

Evan McMul­lin came out on top in a Emer­son Col­lege poll of Utah with 31% of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 27%, while Hillary Clin­ton took third with 24%. Gary John­son re­ceived 5% of the vote in the sur­vey.

Quinnipiac Has Clinton Up by 7
3 days ago

A new Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll finds Hillary Clin­ton lead­ing Donald Trump by seven percentage points, 47%-40%. Trump’s “lead among men and white voters all but” van­ished from the uni­versity’s early Oc­to­ber poll. A new PPRI/Brook­ings sur­vey shows a much bigger lead, with Clinton up 51%-36%. And an IBD/TIPP poll leans the other way, showing a vir­tu­al dead heat, with Trump tak­ing 41% of the vote to Clin­ton’s 40% in a four-way match­up.

Trump: I’ll Accept the Results “If I Win”
3 days ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.