WASHINGTON — Sen. Ted Cruz blamed Republican leaders Tuesday for his party’s failing strategy to overturn President Barack Obama’s immigration actions, arguing that if they had listened to him and more forcefully confronted Obama they would be succeeding.
Speaking to a few reporters in the Capitol outside a Senate GOP lunch meeting, the Texas Republican said party leaders gave “away virtually all of our leverage” by funding most of the government through September, and didn’t adopt his plan to grind nearly all nominations to a halt unless Obama surrendered.
Cruz said he warned all along that that was “a strategy designed to lose.”
“My objections were overruled,” he said. “Leadership proceeded nonetheless down this path and now it’s incumbent on leadership to explain what their path is to what they stated the end goal would be.”
Cruz added: “My views have been clear and explicit from the beginning. Congress should use every constitutional check and balance we have to rein in the unconstitutional and illegal executive amnesty from President Obama. That includes using the power of the purse — although with the ‘cromnibus’ we’ve given away virtually all of our leverage, by already funding almost the entirety of the federal government. … And for a couple of months now I have called on the new majority leader to publicly announce that the Senate will not confirm any nominees, executive or judicial, other than vital national security positions, unless and until the president rescinds his unconstitutional amnesty.”
The GOP strategy was crafted under pressure from Cruz and others, most notably Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and a faction of deeply conservative House Republicans, as a way to take on Obama while avoiding a government shutdown back in December.
Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune (R-SD) told TPM on Tuesday that there’s no Plan B just yet. “Well, I think that’s still being formulated and there are a lot of discussions going on between members right now,” he said.
The No. 3 Republican said that while nobody wants to do a stopgap “continuing resolution” to keep funds flowing at existing levels, the end-of-February deadline means it cannot be ruled out as a way to avoid a DHS shutdown.