House Republicans Hit Cruz for "White Flag" on Health Law

House Republicans Hit Cruz for "White Flag" on Health Law

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - September 19, 2013

Some House Republicans have a bone to pick with their Senate colleague Ted Cruz, whom they say prematurely conceded Wednesday night in the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz praised Speaker John Boehner's plan to pass a stopgap budget resolution that also cuts funds for Obamacare, but he acknowledged that the Democratic-controlled Senate wouldn’t undercut the president’s signature law.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid “will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said in a statement Wednesday. "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people."

While it’s no real secret that Democrats wouldn’t support the measure -- Sen. Chuck Schumer called the GOP’s plan “insane” -- Boehner and some of his Republican members are loath to go there publicly, and believe Cruz admitted defeat before the House even voted on its plan. And they say that by calling on House Republicans to “stand firm,” Senate conservatives are putting the spotlight -- and pressure -- on the GOP-led lower chamber.

“House agrees to send #CR to Senate that defunds Obamacare. @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender,” read a Wednesday night tweet from Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, referring also to the Utah senator who has joined Cruz’s efforts against the health care law.  The congressman continued on in a Facebook post: “House Republicans have stood firm. We have voted to defund, repeal & delay #Obamacare dozens of times. It is time for Sens. Cruz & Lee to show they can hold the line against Senate Democrats. Let's hope they do not surrender before the fight even begins.” Then, he asked: “Can Americans count on Sens. Cruz & Lee to join us?”

Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin also chimed in on social media, tweeting: “so far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and townhalls, not much else. Do something.” (Griffin later wrote that he was simply offering “friendly motivation.”) Cruz teamed up with the conservative Heritage Foundation for a nationwide summer tour to promote the congressional effort to defund the ACA or else shut down the government. (Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass a budget resolution to keep the money flowing.)

Georgia Rep. Tom Price also chimed in, and turned the pressure back onto the Senate. “House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare,” he wrote in a tweet. “Ball will be in the Senate’s court.”

Cruz and Lee will appear at a press conference Thursday with several House Republicans.

All this isn’t the first round of harsh intra-party words directed at Cruz and company. The National Review Online reported earlier this week that an aide to a Republican congressman from Texas complained about Cruz’s visit to his district and misleading those constituents about how easy defunding the ACA would be.

The Cruz camp returned fire on Twitter. “Imagine if all the energy directed at insulting Ted Cruz right at this oment was directed at defeating Harry Reid and Obamacare,” wrote the freshman senator’s adviser Amanda Carpenter.

In response to Cruz, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told reporters simply: "We trust Republicans in the Senate will put up a fight worthy of the challenge that Obamacare poses.” 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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