There’s nothing like a little butt-hurt from some Republican Senators to make the weekend more interesting.
Ted Cruz. the conservative Republican that many Republicans love to hate more than they do Democrats, took to the floor of the Senate to raise a point order against President Obama’s executive amnesty that was funded in both the House and Senate bill’s until at least February of 2015.
While Cruz was not more specific on the Senate floor, points of order are generally aimed at derailing legislation when a senator believes some rule has been violated. They generally require the chair to rule whether those arguments are valid.
In this case, Cruz’s effort may at some point force a Democratic senator to rule his points are invalid, which could prompt Cruz to appeal that ruling and seek a vote among all senators.
Amanda Carpenter, Cruz’s communications director, told TheBlaze that Cruz’s challenge is part of his effort to force the Senate to vote on a measure that would defund Obama’s immigration policy.
The Senate adjourned Friday night just before 11 p.m., and moments before, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asked for a unanimous agreement that the Senate start voting on the spending bill late Monday. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) objected, and asked if Reid would allow a vote to defund Obama’s action.
“I am unable to do that,” Reid said. Because of that disagreement, there was still no agreement to speed up the process for considering the spending bill, and Reid said the Senate would return to work Saturday at noon to work on nominations.
Note it was actually Mike Lee who triggered all of this but he doesn’t get the same ire directed at him as Cruz for whatever reason.
In any event, the entire thing went down without much of a peep from anybody because until a Politico article hit the wire, nobody really cared all that much. But then, just before noon on Saturday, the following piece went live:
The Senate voted on Saturday night to approve a $1.1 trillion deal and avert a government shutdown, sending the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature after an unusual weekend session and days of drama in the House.
Senate conservatives had tried to make a point about Obama’s immigration policy this weekend, but the result was Senate Democrats getting everything they wanted out of their last days of power.
In the end the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill, 56-40, but not before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was able to begin moving forward on 24 of the president’s nominations, including controversial figures like Vivek Murthy to be the new surgeon general, White House adviser Tony Blinken to be the deputy secretary of State and Sarah Saldana to head Immigration and Customs enforcement and a dozen federal judges to lifetime appointments.
And oh did the hand-wringing start. The usual suspects were all fanning themselves, reaching for the fainting couch and all up in arms over these nominees, as if there was zero chance of them getting through the Senate in the last days of the Democrats power. It was all because of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee (to a lesser degree) and their total lack of a strategy that these nominations were now going to get confirmed.
I want to be careful in the way that I object to this. I’d like to be diplomatic and and speak very down to earth about this point of view:
It’s big steaming pile of crap.
Subtle enough? The notion that these nominees were dead is a fantasy, nothing more. Reading the article, it’s obvious who the sources were. It wasn’t Democrats, but they played along. The knew who they were dealing with. Here’s Chuck Schumer:
Was worried Dr. Vivek Murthy might not get confirmed but thanks to @TedCruz, looks like he will. #TopDocNow #SurgeonGeneral
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 13, 2014
It was funny watching Republicans fall over themselves in trying to repeat Democratic talking points. For the last three years, conservatives have been subject to lectures and patronizing exhortations on how the GOP was really powerless to do much by only controlling one half of one branch of government.
“We cannot do more until we win the Senate, you trifling little worm! How dare you question my position on this matter?”
Clues about why the some Senators were really pissed off, came in a follow-up Political piece. Here they are:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte returned home to New Hampshire on Friday, planning to see “The Nutcracker” with her daughter this weekend.’
Several senators had to abruptly change plans, including Ayotte, who had to race back to Washington and missed the ballet with her daughter, and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, who had to cancel his official trip to Iraq and Turkey this weekend.
Asked if he thought the Cruz-Lee plan was effective, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said: “The answer is no.”
“I don’t see how conservative ends are achieved,” said Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a fiscal hardliner. “I think it’s counterproductive. Some of the nominations that we had issues with, like the surgeon general, were not going to move forward. Now they’re going to move forward.”
Thanks Senator Flake, for repeating the lie. You get the point.
It’s not until you get further into the article that you come to this point:
After Lee objected, Reid saw an opening. He brought the Senate back into session Saturday to begin processing nominations through a series of procedural votes. Senior Republicans were furious. By skipping a weekend session, McConnell had hoped that Reid would relent on nominations next week as senators grew anxious about returning home for the holidays.
Can you believe this? They put their hope in Harry Reid. Since Harry Reid has been Majority Leader (since 2007), he has never turned down an opportunity to stick in the GOPs read end on any number of issues. They hoped in the man who said, “Screw you” in the nuclear option? The man who had no problem accusing Mitt Romney of a felony from the Senate floor? The guy who tabled pretty much any bill that came over from the GOP controlled House.
That Harry Reid?
Yeah, cool story bro.
Even the soft spoken Mike Lee knows this a garbage. Skip to 2:15 in this video where he tells Bill Hemmer, “Not one person will be confirmed that would have not otherwise been confirmed if this did not happen.”
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
The bottom line is: These nominees were going through regardless. They were already on Reid’s calendar. He didn’t need the extra day to get this done. Democrats were planning this since the day after the election.
In the end, it really came down to a bunch of Republicans who:
1. Didn’t want to put their vote on the record that Obama’s plan was unconstitutional, particularly after they voted to fund it for the next several months
2. Were pissed off at Ted Cruz that they had to work on the weekend.
The rubber is going to meet the road in February. At the end of that month, the funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out. At that time, Congress will once again have the opportunity to strip funding for Obama’s unconstitutional power grab.
Will the GOP finally do what they said they’d do, or will they find a reason to whine about the Jr. Senator from Texas. We shall see.