Senior Republicans in the Senate criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Sunday for accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of lying and using tactics similar to those of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
The remarks came from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) during a special session on Sunday when the Senate advanced legislation to restore the federal Export-Import Bank, 67-26, and did not advance legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 49-43. Both amendments needed 60 votes in order to pass, as part of a highway bill that has a deadline of July 31.
As previously reported, Cruz spoke out against McConnell on Friday, noting that after several senators got together and negotiated a deal that would both revive the Export-Import bank and pass trade promotion authority granted by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, he confronted McConnell, who was “visibly angry” and insisted that there was “no deal.”
The Associated Press noted that in addition to no senators coming to Cruz’s defense, they also blocked Cruz from offering an amendment related to the Iran deal, going as far as to refuse to grant his “routine request for a roll-call vote.”
Hatch, the Senate pro tempore, spoke out against the 2016 Presidential contender on the Senate floor on Sunday, saying, “Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues and perhaps on the campaign trail, but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate.”
“The Senate floor has even become a place where senators have singled out colleagues by name to attack them in personal terms, to impugn their character, in blatant disregard for Senate rules,” Hatch continued. “Such misuses of the Senate floor must not be tolerated.”
Alexander likened Cruz’s actions to Americans rendering themselves lawless, and said that Cruz “will create a precedent that destroys the orderly consideration of amendments,” and as a result “there will be unlimited amendments; there will be chaos.
Cornyn, the Senate Majority Whip, agreed with Alexander, saying that if senators sided with Cruz and wanted to overturn current procedure, the Senate would not be able to function and maintaining that he believes there was “no misrepresentation made by the majority leader on the Ex-Im Bank.”
“If the majority leader had somehow misrepresented to 54 senators what the facts are with regards to the Ex-Im Bank, I would suspect that you would find other voices joining that of the junior senator, but I hear no one else making such a similar accusation,” Cornyn said.
“Speaking the truth about actions is entirely consistent with civility,” Cruz replied, insisting that although accusing McConnell of lying “may be uncomfortable,” it was “entirely consistent with decorum, and no member of this body has disputed that promise was made and that promise was broken.”
Cruz isn’t the first presidential candidate at odds with McConnell. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) clashed with McConnell in May, when he stood up against McConnell’s wishes to extend the Patriot Act and forced the expiration of Section 215, which was used by the National Security Agency to justify its bulk collection of Americans’ data.