The head obstructionist is obstructing the obstructor. Confused? You’ll be more confused in a minute. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) broke with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday, and revealed that he won’t filibuster legislation to fund the government in order to defund Obamacare.
When Ted Cruz said to not filibuster is a vote for Obamacare, then I’m sure he didn’t expect Mitch McConnell to oppose him. By the way, Cruz has been on twitter all day using a #DefundObamacare hashtag to garner support.
Talking Points Memo reports:
The Republican leader’s decision is a major blow to the push by Cruz and powerful conservative activist groups, who wanted Republicans to unite and filibuster a continuing resolution until Democrats caved agreed to gut funding for the Affordable Care Act.
“Senator McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told TPM in an email Monday. “He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill.”
As TPM points out, there are reasons for McConnell’s sudden shift:
The move also signals how badly McConnell wants to avoid a government shutdown, which observers across the political spectrum agree would harm the GOP. He’s facing re-election in 2014 and fending off a conservative challenger, Matt Bevin, who is demanding he get tougher on Obamacare. A shutdown would also harm McConnell’s ultimate goal of becoming majority leader after the mid-term elections.
The Huffington Post reports:
Stewart said McConnell is far more interested in voting directly on the bill to defund Obamacare.
“He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill,” Stewart said. “If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide — without hiding behind a procedural vote — whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the senior senator from Cruz’s home state and the number-two Republican in the Senate, also doesn’t support Cruz’s filibuster strategy.
“Sen. Cornyn will not block a bill that defunds Obamacare,” Cornyn spokeswoman Megan Mitchell told The Huffington Post.
Earlier Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also rejected Cruz’s strategy, saying it’s “not the best tactic” for Republicans to risk a government shutdown over Obamacare.
It’s almost as if Republicans have set Ted Cruz up for a fall. If the threat of a government shutdown went favorably, then they could claim credit as well. If not, they can toss Cruz under the bus. When your colleagues are self-serving narcissistic predators, it’s best to watch your back.
Image: From my Twitter buddy Symbolman who you can follow here.