Report: Cruz Meets With House Conservatives In Restaurant Basement

AP

With the Senate closing in on a deal to avert default and reopen the shuttered government, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reportedly huddled Monday night with some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives.

Citing unnamed sources, Roll Call reported that Cruz and “roughly 15 to 20 House Republicans” met for about two hours in the basement of Tortilla Coast, a Tex-Mex restaurant on Capitol Hill.

According to Roll Call, Cruz and the House members were eventually spotted by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who “seemed particularly interested in what the group was up to.”

Attendees reportedly included Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID), Steve Southerland II (R-FL), Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Justin Amash (R-MI).

It is unclear what was discussed at the meeting, but the participants — namely Cruz — were in the vanguard of the movement to defund the Affordable Care Act, an effort that led to the first government shutdown since 1996.

The deal poised to emerge from the Senate will face a big hurdle in the House, with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) staring down a conservative caucus adamant about gutting some part of the health care law. Cruz’s influence over those conservatives has prompted Democrats to question Boehner’s clout. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said earlier this month that the speaker has “become a puppet — with Ted Cruz pulling the strings.”

Cruz declined to say Monday whether he will try to block the pending Senate deal.

“I want to wait and see what the details are,” he said. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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