The Huffington Post inaccurately accused Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of “conceding that the [Republican] party’s efforts to repeal ObamaCare aren’t going anywhere in the Senate” on Thursday. The misleading article is meant to drive a wedge between Senate and House conservatives.
First off, Cruz is not making an effort to “repeal” ObamaCare. Republicans have voted over 40 times to”repeal” the President’s health care overhaul, and none of those votes have amounted to any change in law. Cruz is leading a fight to defund ObamaCare. This is a markedly different approach; Congress would use its power of the purse to pull back funding for implementation of the law, technically remaining law but being completely impotent until is can be successfully repealed. Yet the Huffington post uses the word “repeal” in the headline as if it is the exact same strategy as defunding the law.
In the piece, there is discussion of the effort to defund, but its used to drive a wedge between House and Senate Republicans.
“Cruz, a tea party favorite, is one of the most vocal proponents of defunding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform law,” authors Jennifer Bendery and Sabrina Siddiqui wrote in the second paragraph of the article published Wednesday night. “He’s spent months championing the cause. But on Wednesday, as House Republican leaders unveiled their latest plan for sinking ObamaCare — tying a measure to defund the law to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running — Cruz thanked House Republicans for their fight, and said they’re on their own.”
What was Huffington Post’s evidence that Cruz was telling the house GOP that “they’re on their own”? Apparently this quote from Cruz: “Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so. At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
Siddiqui and Bendery quoted a handful of representatives and staffers who attacked Cruz and said he was somehow “admitting defeat.”
“We haven’t even taken up the bill and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is admitting defeat?” said one anonymous “senior GOP aide.” “Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He’s a joke, plain and simple.”
Another House GOP leadership aide said Cruz’s statement “exposes how [Senate conservatives] have deliberately misled their constituents and the grassroots for eight weeks. This isn’t leadership, it’s hypocrisy.”
The authors quoted a series of House GOP leadership allies who all attacked Cruz before ending with a quote from House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)’s spokesman Michael Steel: “We trust Republicans in the Senate will put up a fight worthy of the challenge that Obamacare poses.”
The Huffington Post and House GOP leadership are implying that Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) were not clear that this fight needed House conservatives. However, both Cruz and Lee have said just that on multiple occasions.
“This needs to start on both sides of the Capitol,” Lee added in his own interview with Breitbart News in July. “Obviously because Republicans are in control in the House of Representatives, we need to rely heavily on the House. It doesn’t matter as much where it starts, although I think it would be best for the House of Representatives to pass a Continuing Resolution that funds everything else in government but Obamacare.”
He added that the ideal scenario would be “the House to pass something that funds everything else in government but Obamacare, then send that over to the Senate and say ‘okay, we’ve done our part. Now the Senate needs to do its part.'”
Cruz and Lee have been rallying House Republicans and are continuing to do so, while simultaneously fighting against funding for Obamacare in the Senate as well. Cruz went as far as imploring Republicans to stand with the American people on this issue and has warned against the GOP establishment’s pattern of compromising conservative principles.
“If we can get 41 Republicans in the Senate to stand together, or if we can get 218 Republicans in the House to stand together, we can win this fight,” Cruz told Breitbart News in a phone interview in late July. “The dirty little secret is an awful lot of Republicans are terrified of this fight. They’re very, very happy to cast symbolic votes against Obamacare so they can go to their constituents and point to how terribly, terribly opposed to Obamacare they are.”
What Sens. Cruz and Lee had called for then is happening now. Cruz told Breitbart News months ago that the GOP establishment is “terrified” of fighting to defund Obamacare, and now it appears they are contributing content to anti-Cruz hit pieces for the Huffington Post in order to drive a wedge between him and House conservatives.