Texas Sen. Ted Cruz writes in his new book that conservative voters would be “astonished” if they knew what Republican senators were really doing and saying in private meetings on Capitol Hill.
“During my time in the Senate, I’ve been amazed how many senators pose one way in public—as fiscal conservatives or staunch Tea Party supporters, for example—and then in private do little or nothing to advance those principles,” Cruz writes in his new book, “A Time For Truth.”
“Indeed, if transcripts of our Senate lunches were released to the public, I think many voters would be astonished,” the Republican presidential candidate writes.
In the introduction to this book, Cruz specifically criticizes the Republican leadership in the Senate for how they dealt with the issue of raising the debt ceiling in early 2014.
“For months leading up to this moment, Republican leaders had pledged to their constituents that when it came time to raise the federal debt limit, they would demand meaningful spending reforms from this president,” Cruz wrote. “Rest assured, we were told, the Republicans would insist on it!”
But that wasn’t going to work, so the GOP leadership came up with another idea.
“For decades, the ordinary procedure in the Senate has been that in order to move to proceed to take up a debt ceiling increase, 60 senators must vote in favor of the motion,” he said.
Cruz said the leadership asked senators to agree to a 50-vote threshold for the debt ceiling legislation.
The GOP leadership, Cruz writes, wanted Republicans to agree to this so “Democrats would then have the votes to raise the debt ceiling on their own. We could all vote no. This way, we could return home and tell the voters that we had opposed raising the debt ceiling, right after consenting to let it happen.”
“Most senators seemed perfectly fine with the leadership’s proposal,” Cruz writes. “There were nods and murmurs of assent.”
Cruz said that for him, it “was too much.”
“I raised my hand and said, ‘There’s no universe in which I can consent to that.’”
He said he explained to the lawmakers: “If I were to affirmatively consent to making it easier for Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid to add trillions in debt—with no spending reforms whatsoever—I think it would be dishonest and unfaithful to the voters who elected me.”
His opposition to the maneuver made many GOP colleagues upset, he said.
“In the two years I’ve been in the Senate, nothing I have said or done has engendered more venom and animosity from my fellow Republicans than the simple objection I made that afternoon,” Cruz recalled.
Cruz explained: “What infuriated them was that by objecting to the unanimous consent deal they had cut, it forced those Republicans who wanted the debt ceiling raised to actually admit so in public with their recorded vote. It prevented them from misleading their constituents.”
Because he and his closest ally, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, refused to agree, Republicans would have to join Democrats to pass the debt ceiling increase. But this Senate vote was different, Cruz recalled.
“For this particular vote, however, the clerk was instructed not to read the votes aloud as they were cast,” he wrote. “That meant the votes could be kept secret, so that the leadership could work on getting enough Republicans who voted against the debt ceiling motion to quietly switch their votes without anyone knowing.”
It eventually passed with 12 Republican senators voting with Democrats.
“The final result was that President Obama, Harry Reid, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, with the active complicity of the Republican leadership, were able to add trillions of dollars to the national debt—a bill that we are passing along to our children and grandchildren—while doing nothing whatsoever to control future spending,” Cruz wrote.