By Becky Hogan
Republicans are furious with Ted Cruz.
Congressman Peter King said Thursday that Cruz needs to ‘keep quiet’ and let the House do its job.
King has been very vocal in saying that attaching Obamacare to the continuing resolution to keep the government funded in the new fiscal year is a risky–even crazy–strategy for the Republican Party.
“When Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Mike Lee fail in the Senate next week, maybe finally we Republicans will have ended their influence,” King said. “We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us.”
But Cruz ins’t keeping quiet. Especially not on defunding Obamacare.
News data shows that both Cruz and King have gotten a fair amount of coverage over the past two weeks, but Cruz’s national media attention took off this week since his statements on defunding Obamacare.
Cruz now says he will use every procedural tool necessary –including a filibuster–to make sure that the congressional spending bill doesn’t fund the health care law.
On Wednesday, Cruz seemed to concede the battle to defund Obamacare was lost in the Senate, igniting a backlash from House Republicans who accused the Texas senator of surrendering in a fight for which he has long advocated.
Rep. Tim Griffin from Arkansas offered this tweet: “so far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and town halls, not much else. Do something.” Yikes. According to NPR, The tweet was later deleted.
Georgia Congressman Tom Price tweeted: “House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court.”
So on Thursday, Cruz reversed course, indicating he may wage a filibuster like Senator Rand Paul did earlier this year, to prevent Democrats from passing a spending bill that would continue funding Obamacare.
Cruz’s handling of the episode is sparking criticism from House and Senate Republicans. And while a government shutdown scenario seems unlikely, the deepening rift between the GOP has heightened concerns that it could happen.
Cruz has seen more Likes since he continued his battle cry to defund the health care law, than when he was announcing its doom. King saw a small uptick after calling Cruz out for being a fraud, but has not seen the same level of gains that Cruz has.
The only way Cruz can succeed is if he convinces almost all Republican Senators to side with him, which is an unlikely event given how divided many Republicans are over the ‘Defund Obamacare’ movement.
Does Cruz face political risks? If the funding bill fails in the Senate, Cruz will get the blame from both sides of the aisle for causing a government shut down. If a bill passes the Senate that continues funding Obamacare, he’ll be blamed by the House GOP for not being an effective champion in the Senate.
We’ll keep watching to see what’s happening in the new media and on social channels as the Senate takes up the House CR.