On the Senate floor on Thursday afternoon, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN) teamed up to falsely claim that Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) have no support from others in the U.S. Senate for their strategy to defund Obamacare.
“We only have two Republican Senators that are wanting to push this off, and so I don’t want that to be mischaracterized,” Corker said of defunding Obamacare in an argument with Cruz. “And to say that it’s my understanding that the reason that we’re putting this off is because they would like for people around the country that they have notified to be able to watch. And so it’s that process of making sure that everyone watches that I think is slowing this down.”
“It’s not the entire Republican side,” Corker claimed. “I think most Republicans, I know all Republicans other than two, would actually like to give the House the opportunity to respond in an appropriate way.”
Durbin then came in to back up Corker. “Let me start by acknowledging what the Senator from Tennessee just said,” Durbin said as he took the floor. I have worked with Senator Corker on so many bipartisan issues. I salute him on his efforts to try to find bipartisan solutions. What he said I think is indicative of the problem we face now.”
“Two Senators–and it is their right under the Senate rules, a Senator from Utah and the junior Senator from Texas – have decided that they want to delay this another day,” he continued. “They want to stall this another day. It isn’t just losing a legislative day. It’s more.”
“Come Tuesday morning, all across America we will not fund the government because of the actions just taken on the floor of the Senate by Sen. Cruz of Texas and Sen. Lee of Utah,” Durbin scolded. “They are trying to slow this down and to create a political crisis, a political crisis. They are playing high-stakes poker with other people’s money because the victims of this political crisis will not be the senators and House members. They will be a lot of innocent people, innocent workers who just want to get up and do their work for this government.”
“Some of them are risking their lives in uniform. They’ll be paid, but their paychecks will be delayed. What it means is they have to contact their wives and spouses back home come Tuesday, if this Cruz and Lee delay continues,” he warned. “They’ll have to contact them and say, honey, it may be a little difficult this pay period. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get a paycheck because Congress has shut down the government. There are others, too, all across America–thousands of them – doing their work for this government, at the FBI and intelligence agencies, it will go dark. Why, why have we reached this point?”
“Why do these two Senators – two Senators – think this is in the best interest of the United States of America? We’ve heard reports from economists, this cannot help our nation. Shutting down the government, failing to extend the debt ceiling, we’re going find ourselves in a position where this economy is going to start to stall,” Durbin claimed. “People are searching their savings accounts and notice that their investments are going down in value. Why?”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) later said Corker did a “fine job” saying not all Republicans support Cruz and Lee. “Even members of their own party believe this is not the right thing to do,” Klobuchar said before citing a poll from one of Karl Rove’s groups.
Despite Corker’s and the Democrats’ claims, several Republican Senators support Cruz and Lee in their efforts: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate budget committee; Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), once the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, all support Lee and Cruz. Additionally,according to Senate Conservatives Fund, Sens. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Vitter (R-LA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) all support the strategy to defund Obamacare.