Ted Cruz’s Bizarre Plan B To Defund Obamacare Is A Nonstarter

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has floated an odd backup plan to fund the government in piecemeal measures if Senate Democrats refuse to pass the legislation that contains a provision to defund Obamacare.

“If Harry Reid kills this bill in it the Senate, I think the House should hold its ground, and should begin passing smaller resolutions one department at a time,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday. “It should start, continuing resolution focused on the military — fund the military, send it over, and let’s see it Harry Reid is willing to shut down the military because he wants to force Obamacare on the American people.”

Senate Republicans, most notably Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), aren’t going along with Cruz’s push to block a continuing resolution in order to force Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to back down on the health care reform law. But there remains the possibility of a shutdown when funding expires next week on Sept. 30 because the Senate and House have yet to settle on a solution. Cruz’s answer is one that’s a nonstarter — to the extent that the strategy makes any sense to begin with.A senior House GOP aide mocked Cruz for suggesting the idea.

“I don’t know how the Senator makes it down a flight of stairs, because he’s completely incapable of thinking one step ahead,” said the Republican aide.

Cruz initially brought the idea up on an interview with Fox News last Friday, after the House passed a bill to fund the government but not Obamacare. He said House Republicans should pass “one continuing resolution after another funding each specific piece of government.”

A second senior House Republican aide pointed out that Cruz is essentially asking the House to pass appropriations bills — which it has already done. As Roll Call pointed out, House Republicans have already passed appropriations bills for defense and other departments. And Senate Democrats have rejected them on account of policy differences, instead calling for a budget deal to iron out the big disputes.

A Cruz spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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