Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticizes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for filing an amendment to the highway funding bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and preventing senators from offering additional amendments by filling the amendment tree. He calls Senator McConnell's actions "procedural abuse" and compares his tactics to those of now-Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) when he was majority leader.
TED CRUZ: Today is a sad day for this institution...
What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing...
A number of weeks ago when this body was considering trade promotion authority, a group of Senators blocked TPA for many minutes because they were pressing for the Export-Import Bank.
They huddled on this floor and negotiated a deal in front of CSPAN and in front of the world.
Then when they had their deal TPA had the votes to pass.
Sortly afterwards we had a Republican Senate lunch, where I asked the Majority Leader very directly, what was the deal that was just cut on TPA, and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank?
It was a direct question, I asked the majority leader in front of all of the Republican senators.
He was visibly angry with me. That I would ask such a question. And the majority leader looked at me and said there is no deal, there is no deal...
This fight led to the expiration of the 80-year-old bank’s charter this month. Some senators are rushing t reauthorize it before the August recess.
My staff told me that afternoon, "he's lying to you."
That's what my staff said. "We've been around the Senate a long time, and he is not telling the truth."
What I told my staff that afternoon is, "I don't know if that is the case or not, but I don't see how when the Majority Leader looks me in the eyes and makes an explicit promise, and by the way he looked in the eyes of every other Republican senator, and says that to every other Republican senator, I don't see how I cannot take him at his word when he makes an explicit promise."
As a result, I cast my vote in May in support of TPA because I support free trade, and I thought I had no choice but to assume that when the Majority Leader spoke to 54 Republican Senators and made an explicit promise, that he wasn't lying to us.
Well as TPA moved on and went to the House, it became abundantly clear that there was a deal.
There was a deal in the House for the Export-Import Bank.
And so the second time TPA came up, I voted no because of that corrupt deal.
I will note to the public, the Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House have said there was no corrupt deal, we made no deal.
That is one element of the background context.
Let me tell you the second element of background context. A number of weeks ago when we were debating the Corker-Cardin Bill, the Iran review act.
There were a number of amendments that actually put teeth in the Iran review act by requiring affirmative Congressional review before sanctions could be lifted.
Other Senators filed very good Amendments.
Sen. Marco Rubio filed an amendment calling for Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state before sanctions could be lifted. Our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle did not want to vote on that amendment. And in response the Majority leader cut off all amendments...
I sat in the Majority Leader's office and I urged [him] to invoke cloture on Sen. Rubio's amendment. Invoke cloture... calling on Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and setting that as a precondition. I argued vociferously that if the Democrats were so opposed to voting on that Amendment, that was all the more important because it was important substantively.
The Majority Leader said no. He would not do so, that invoking cloture on an amendment was an extraordinary step and he would not do it. So he cut off every amendment. He filled the tree.
And it was striking a minute ago seeing the Democratic leader Harry Reid calling out the leader for filling the tree, for engaging in the same procedural abuse that Harry Reid did over and over and over again in this body. Now the Republican leader is behaving like the Senior Senator from Nevada [Reid].
What we just saw was not... what the majority leader told you and me and every other Republican senator.
What we just saw was not that the proponents of the Export-Import bank could offer an amendment like any other Senator on any other issue.
What the Majority leader just did is: He just called up that Amendment. He called it up himself.
So why does that matter? As majority leader... when he calls up an amendment no one can stop him.
He didn't just call it up, he filled the tree. Just like Harry Reid. Blocking everyone else's amendment...
We’ve had a Republican majority in both houses of Congresses now for about six months. What has that majority done?
First thing we did, in December, we passed a $1 trillion crominbus plan filled with pork and corporate welfare. Then this Republican majority voted to fund Obamacare, voted to fund President Obama’s unconstitutional executive amnesty. And then the leadership rammed through the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general...
As he walked off the Senate floor, Cruz didn’t stop insulting McConnell.
He told reporters that he would try to force a procedural vote on an amendment to force Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and release the four American hostages held in Tehran. Forcing a procedural vote — to overturn the ruling of the chair — is another highly unusual move, particularly for a rank-and-file senator challenging his own leadership.
“I assume leadership is going to whip against that amendment,” Cruz said.
In the 15-minute press availability, Cruz was asked to produce evidence that McConnell is a liar. He sent aides to his Senate desk, and he circulated photos from the Senate floor of Graham and Cantwell huddling with McConnell and his deputies on the Senate floor during the tense vote on Trade Promotion Authority. Cruz said at a subsequent party lunch, he challenged McConnell “explicitly” to find out what deal they cut.
Cruz accuses the "big money Washington Cartel"
CRUZ: Madam President, which of those decisions would be one iota different if Harry Reid were still majority leader? Not a one. Not a one.
It is exactly the same, the same priorities. And let me tell you why.
It is not that this majority doesn't get things done, it gets things done, but it listens to one and only one voice. That is the voice of the Washington Cartel. The lobbyists on K Street. The big money and big corporations. If you got to he American people and ask if reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank is a priority? The standard repsonse would be, "the what?"
Let me tell you what it is: it is an egregious example of corporate wellfare. It is the American taxpayers being on the dime for hundred of billions of dollars of loan guarnatees given out to a handful of huge corporations...
Among others you know who had clarity of thought on that? Then Senator Barack Obama who called it a "classic example of corporate wellfare." That was back when he was in the senate, now that he is in the White House, corporate welfare sounds pretty good. Now just about all of the Democrats are supporting the corporate welfare, with the exception of Sen. Sanders, I'll give credit to Sen. Sanders for standing up against corporate welfare...
Every Democrat who styles him or herself a populist, their actions on this matter are louder than their words and when it comes to Republicans, they also are listening to K Street and the lobbysits. Why? it is not complicated...
These checks go to both Democrats and Republicans. Career poltiicans who are kept in office by looting the taxpayer to benefit wealthy powerful corporations.
The single largest reciepient of loan guarnatees from the Export-Import Bank is the Boeing Corporation... their CEO said "we'll be just fine without the export-import bank."