When Democrats and Republicans eventually resolve the government shutdown and the debt ceiling crisis (at least temporarily), the man most closely identified as the face of the shutdown may find himself in trouble. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, has been a hero to many in the tea party wing of the GOP -- but has also been making enemies within the party.
Though a deal to end the stalemate may be near, the ire of some Republicans toward Cruz, whom the GOP blames for backing them into a corner without a strategy, is still lingering.
Just ask Rep. Peter King, who has the junior senator from Texas in his crosshairs. The New York Republican on Monday told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “Democrats are winning” the fiscal fight “and they know it.”
Still, the congressman has called upon President Barack Obama to “play a more aggressive role” in the budget negotiations. It was what King said afterward that was interesting. He expressed a desire for his colleagues to lash out against Cruz and “this crazy [tea party] movement.”
Cruz has been instrumental in the fight to include anti-Obamacare language in a 2014 continuing resolution to keep the government open, and other efforts to use the health-care law as leverage for raising the debt ceiling. With Senate Democrats rejecting every one of those attempts and the government two weeks into a shutdown, and the debt ceiling deadline looming, the public and some lawmakers are outraged that things came to this point.
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“We as Republicans have to anticipate there’s going to be another one of these in six weeks or eight weeks or three months or whatever it is,” King said, “and we just can’t have national Republicans criticizing the system or saying this was the wrong decision to make.
“We have to anticipate Ted Cruz is going to try to do this again,” he said. “Ted Cruz and about 30 or 40 people in the House and we have to start going after him by name. I’ve been doing it all along. I wish I had more company on it.
“The fact is that what’s going to happen a month from now after this is resolved he’s going to say, ‘Republicans were on the edge of winning, but they lost their nerve at the end and they caved in. This time it’s going to work.’ And he’s going to rewrite history and we have to make sure he doesn’t do it. It’s really time to speak out against him. ... We can’t let John Boehner and Eric Cantor be put into this position again. They were told since mid-September this was going to be a disaster.”
It’s not the first time King has come out swinging at Cruz. Last month, King told CNN that the Texas Republican was “bad for the party.”
But even as King criticizes him, Cruz will continue being “focused on Obamacare’s negative effects on American working people,” his spokesman Sean Rushton said. “Making Washington listen to the people to get jobs and economic growth back is what matters.”