The mere fact that Senator Ted Cruz–one of the presidential candidates who can not get any notice this summer–has resorted to a tactic from Donald Trump’s playbook should not surprise us. After all, it is Cruz who can not seem to distance himself from the distasteful words and actions of Trump.
So it should come as no surprise that on the senate floor Cruz decided to get noticed. Question is how much press time does this antic get him? I suggest not much.
Cruz accused his own majority leader of effectively lying to fellow senators about his intentions Friday in a floor speech that could have serious repercussions.
“The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over and over again was a simple lie.”
Cruz was charging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with misleading senators and others about there not being a deal to provide for reviving the Export-Import Bank. He blasted McConnell for using the procedural tactic known as filling the amendment tree that is used frequently to preclude the offering of unwanted amendments.
Look, there are some simple political calculations to consider.
First, there must a transportation bill passed. I want to see the federal gas tax increased, something that has not been done since 1993. I want the federal government to do what I have long encouraged Wisconsin to do when it comes to road projects and the means to budget for them. Act like adults, know that these projects require tax dollars, and take the needed action to make it happen. Wisconsin fails to do that every budget and the hole we are making is simply irresponsible.
I might add that the way to fund the federal bill this year with tax reform that makes a safe cushy place for corporations to bring off-shore earnings is short-sighted and wrong. I very much agree with the idea that U.S. corporations should be taxed on global earnings. To undercut that concept now for some short-term gain is folly. While the way to bring these huge profits back to America has long been talked about it is not sound to undo this tax policy for a one-time funding measure.
The second thing that Cruz needs to be aware of, and one that the majority leader is well aware, is that the Export-Import Bank is very much needed and should not wither away. To pretend otherwise proves that Cruz is not interested in serious governing.
McConnell knows all eyes are watching to see if the majority Republicans can walk and chew gum at the same time with their increased number following the last election cycle. A 6-year transportation bill without goofy and harmful amendments will be one sign that Washington can still function.