WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz is having a rough week.
The Texas firebrand and potential presidential candidate had two wishes for his Republican colleagues: Stand firm against funding the Department of Homeland Security without immigration restrictions, and reject the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the next U.S. attorney general, whom he lambasted as a “rubber stamp” for President Barack Obama’s “lawlessness.”
Both gambits are failing.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) cut a deal with Democrats to fund DHS without the immigration restrictions. Although Cruz quickly decried it as a “mistake,” the first stage of the plan easily cleared the Senate the following day, and the bill is on track to pass the chamber.
Then on Thursday, the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Lynch nomination, sending it to the full Senate for final confirmation. The vote was 12-8, winning Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC).
Just a day earlier, Cruz suggested that senators who support Lynch would be abdicating their oath of office.
“Anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights, anyone concerned about individual liberty, should be deeply concerned about an attorney general who has told the Senate she will be a rubber stamp for the most aggressive assertions of executive power in history,” Cruz told reporters in the Capitol. “I do not believe it is consistent with the responsibilities of a United States senator to honor our oaths to vote to confirm a nominee for attorney general who has flat-out told us she will disregard the law, she will disregard the Constitution.”
Cruz reportedly indicated on Wednesday that he wouldn’t attempt to stall or delay the DHS bill, suggesting that it would pass and that there was nothing to gain by delaying the inevitable. He recently argued that Republican leaders surrendered critical leverage in the immigration fight in December by funding most of the federal government and refusing to halt the confirmation of nominees to aid the push against Obama’s actions.
On Thursday, Cruz took a break from Capitol Hill to attend CPAC, an annual conference of conservatives taking place near Washington, where he is treated as a hero.