WASHINGTON — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz says the Republican leadership in Congress is guilty of “peremptory surrender” once again, criticizing House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not going along with the plan favored by conservatives to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Republicans need to act like Republicans,” Cruz said Thursday afternoon to a group of reporters inside his Capitol Hill office. “Leadership needs to lead. Together, we need to actually honor the commitments to the men and women who elected us.”
Speaking at a long brown table in his conference room and sipping on a diet Dr. Pepper, Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, argued Republicans need to fight for a bill that funds the government while gutting money for Planned Parenthood.
“You have one side — President Obama and the Democrats — who are relentless, committed to advancing their principles,” Cruz said. “Like the Terminator, they never stop, they never give up. And you have the other side, Republican leadership, who commences every discussion with a peremptory surrender.”
Democrats in the Senate would block legislation defunding Planned Parenthood. The White House says it would veto it. Republican leaders, like Boehner and McConnell, say they want to avoid a government shutdown like in 2013 after the debate over defunding Obamacare.
“The results are predictable,” Cruz said. “It starts with Republican leadership’s promise at the outset there will be no shutdowns. Now, that promise on its face sounds quite reasonable. The problem is when you have a radical in the White House who will exploit that promise.”
“What it means in effect is Republican leadership will support every single failed big government policy of President Obama,” he said.
Some Republicans, like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, often point out that Republicans don’t have 67 votes to overcome Obama’s veto so the party shouldn’t commit to fighting for something that will lead to a shutdown. Cruz said Thursday, under that thinking, it really “makes no difference” that Republicans re-took control of Congress last year.
“Even though we have Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, under leadership’s view, that makes no difference,” he said. “Republicans will support every single failed policy of the Democrats. If that is the case, if that is how leadership approaches it, what difference does it make?”
He added: “Today, Harry Reid is the de-facto leader of the Senate. Nancy Pelosi is the de-facto leader of the House. Why? Because Republican leadership will advance nothing unless Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi agree with it. They have veto power.”
Cruz expressed frustration with how voters were led to believe during the 2010 and 2014 elections that things would change if more Republicans were elected.
“The American people were told if only we had a Republican House of Representatives, then things would be different,” Cruz said. “So millions of us rose up in 2010, and elected a Republican congress. Very little changed.”
“Then we were told the problem was the Senate…If only we get the Senate, retire Harry Reid, then things will be different,” he said. “So what happened in 2014? Millions of us rose up. We won an historic tidal wave. We won nine Senate seats. We retired Harry Reid with the biggest House majority since the 1920s. And what on earth has changed?”
Despite his criticism of the Republican leadership, Cruz was careful not to explicitly express support for removing Boehner and McConnell from their positions, as conservative grassroots activists would like.
“That is a question at the end of the day for the Republican conference,” he said. “At least to date, the Republican conference has been willing to accept leadership’s handing control of the agenda over to Democrats. I hope that changes.”