Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of being a liar, saying Republicans in charge of both houses of Congress haven’t changed things “one iota” because both parties serve the “Washington cartel.” Cruz made his speech after McConnell added the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank to the highway-funding bill, then prevented senators from adding more amendments.
The Export-Import Bank’s charter expired June 30 when Congress refused to renew it. Opponents say it’s a major corporate welfare snow-job, with nearly 90 percent of the bank’s funding going to Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar.
Cruz said that his vote for trade promotion authority, also known as fast track, was cast on the basis that McConnell assured him there was not a deal made with the Democrats to support the controversial Export-Import bank. Cruz said he asked McConnell the question during a private Senate Republican lunch.
“I stood up and I asked the majority leader very directly, what was the deal that was just cut on TPA (Trade Promotion Authority) and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank? It was a direct question. I asked the majority leader in front of all the Republican senators. The majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and said, ‘There is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal,’” Cruz said. “Like St. Peter he repeated it three times.”
Besides pointing out McConnell’s lie, Cruz accused McConnell of operating as a “team” with Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid who also blocked debate: “Now the Republican leader is behaving like the senior senator from Nevada.”
He added that since Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress, they have passed the Obama-supported “cromnibus” bill, funded Obamacare, funded his executive immigration actions and approved Loretta Lynch as attorney general.
Senator Orrin Hatch defended McConnell, claiming Cruz’s speech was out of line: “Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues and perhaps on the campaign trail, but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate.”
Hatch’s reading of Senate Rule 19:2 — “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator,” — was a warning to Cruz.
Cruz fought back against charges saying, “It is entirely consistent with decorum and with the nature of this body traditionally as the world’s greatest deliberative body to speak the truth.”
In the end. all Hatch did is prove Cruz’s point about the “Washington cartel.”