Throughout the government spending drama, one of the central themes has been the insurgence of House conservatives, spurred on by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT). They’ve been in many ways setting the House’s agenda, much to the chagrin of House leadership.
That dynamic took center-stage again Tuesday when Cruz and Lee took credit for the House’s latest plan to end the government shutdown.
But, as has become their fashion, the senators decided to push things just a little bit further. The House will soon vote on bills to reopen a part of the Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Parks Service and the Washington, D.C., government.
Lee said on the Senate floor Tuesday, though, that he wants more. He wants Congress to fund all of the pieces of the federal government that he likes — except Obamacare.
“My plan, in other words, would involve setting up segmented continuing resolutions, appropriations measures that would keep the funding going at current levels to various areas within government,” Lee said. “Let’s leave Obamacare for another day and not hold the vast majority of government functions hostage when the vast majority of government functions don’t have anything to do with the implementation and enforcement of Obamacare.”
Lee’s communications director took credit for the House moving “the Lee-Cruz plan” after it was announced.
— Brian Phillips (@SenLeeComs) October 1, 2013
A Cruz aide noted to TPM that the plan had been Cruz’s idea. “It’s an idea Sen. Cruz floated several days ago, so yes, we’re strongly supportive of the concept,” the aide said.
In an interview on Fox News Sunday on Sept. 22, Cruz elaborated on his idea of a piecemeal approach to funding the government if Senate Democrats refused to give way on the health care law.
“If Harry Reid kills this bill in it the Senate, I think the House should hold it’s ground and start passing smaller resolutions one department at a time,” Cruz said. Fund the military, send it over, and see it Harry Reid is willing to shut down the military because he wants to force Obamacare on the American people.”
House Republicans did that Saturday, the Senate passed it Monday and the president signed it into law. Now Lee wants the House to keep going.
Cruz repeated his call Monday, hours before the government shut down. “We should pick the top, the critical priorities, the areas where, if the Democrats force a shutdown, the areas where there will be the most pain and let’s address that. Let’s take them off the table. And I think the House tonight ought to pass several continuing resolutions,” Cruz said Monday on CNN.