Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz criticized his Democratic colleague Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine on Sunday for holding a large portion of his constituency hostage in order to advance his party’s political agenda.
“You’ve got my friend Tim Kaine coming on in a minute — he represents Virginia,” Cruz told host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “There are a lot of federal workers in the commonwealth of Virginia.”
“If Tim Kaine and [fellow Virginia Sen.] Mark Warner were to say, ‘We’re going to put the jobs of the men and women of Virginia ahead of our partisan interests, ahead of the fact that our base hates [President] Donald Trump’ … [they] would take only five more Democrats in the Senate to have the votes to say this second ‘Schumer Shutdown’ is over, we’re reopening the government and we’re going to implement common sense border security that the American people want,” Cruz continued.
The Republican-led House passed a stopgap funding bill Dec. 20 that included appropriations to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. However, with a then-51-seat majority, Senate Republicans fell short of the necessary 60 votes needed to send it to Trump’s desk for signature. Consequently, a partial government shutdown has been in effect since funding expired Dec. 21.
Due to the proximity to the nation’s capital, Virginia has a disproportionate share of federal employees, many of whom have been furloughed because of the shutdown. Nearly one out of every five full-time government workers lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area comprised of D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“The House passed a bill opening the government — funding all of the government and securing the border,” said Cruz. “The Democrats’ position can’t be, ‘We’ve got to force a shutdown.’ What the Democrats are saying is, ‘We’re going to hold federal workers hostage.'” (RELATED: Ted Cruz Uses The Constitution To Defend Building The Wall)
The Texas senator also called out Democrats in the Senate for their disingenuous attempt to shut down the government over the border wall.
“Here’s the ridiculous thing about the position of Senate Democrats — this is not substantive. They voted for it before,” Cruz said. “[Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and every single Democrat in the Senate in 2013 voted for 350 miles of additional border fencing and border security. They’ve now shut the government down on 234 miles.”
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