Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz called fellow Senator Mitch McConnell a liar. Cruz emphatically claimed that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had assured him multiple times that there “is no deal” on allowing the Export-Import bank funding amendment to be attached to the transportation bill.
Cruz said that McConnell assured him that the only thing he had ever said was that any individual Senator could offer an amendment. McConnell himself, using the privileged position of majority leader, introduced the amendment.
The bell rang for round two of the Cruz vs. McConnell fight of the century yesterday. Senator McConnell addressed Cruz’s accusation that he had lied when he said that there was no special deal on the Export-Import Bank amendment.
McConnell explained that when over 60 Senators wanted it, that it would eventually come up for debate one way or the other. He went on to say that the transportation funding expires on July 31 and that this transportation bill needed to get done because jobs are at stake.
Two of McConnell’s allies, Orin Hatch of Utah and John Cornyn of Texas, took the floor to speak of Senate decorum and not attacking a fellow Senator. While no one mentioned Cruz by name, it was evident that their comments were directed to his speech from last week in which he pointedly said that McConnell had lied to him and the Republican conference about the Export-Import amendment.
Cruz, himself, also took the floor to respond to the thinly veiled rebukes. He gave two key rebuttals. One is that that he believed that telling the truth is in keeping in Senate decorum. Second, he noted that no one has disputed the facts that he presented.
I watched the videos and the live coverage yesterday. If I were sitting on a jury, I would have to find in favor of Senator Cruz. I won’t judge what Senator McConnell may have had in mind when he gave the assurances that “there is no deal.” His insistence that the only thing he said is that any Senator could offer amendments implies that an amendment on the Export-Import bank would be treated the same as any other amendment. That did not happen.
When the Majority Leader himself offered the amendment, it carried a privilege with it that set it above any other amendment. When Mitch McConnell offered the amendment, it was automatically in order and took precedence over all others.
On the other hand, when Senator Cruz offered amendments to assure that sanctions would stay in place with Iran until our American hostages were released and Iran acknowledged, Israel’s right to exist, his amendments were ruled out of order. When another Republican Senator offered an amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, it also was ruled out of order.
In short, Senator McConnell gave more privilege to Harry Reid and the Democrats than he did members of his own party. His action clearly ran contrary to the notion that an amendment regarding the Export – Import bank would be treated as any other amendment.
Whether Senators are willing to acknowledge it or not, Cruz said what most Americans are saying. While some Senators may complain about Senate history and decorum in speeches, I’ve got to side with Cruz. He told the truth about the double-speak of McConnell and career politicians. The average American sides with Cruz as well.
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