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Senator Ted Cruz Seeking Headlines With Transportation Bill

July 24, 2015

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.

  1. July 24, 2015 4:29 PM

    In a congress that was not as hell-bent on running government into the ditch I very much would agree with you about the matter of germane issues. But there is nothing that the teabaggers will not do to undermine government, and that includes the Ex-Im. The matter needs to pass just like it always has–shades of debt limit here–and so this bill is the way to get it done. We all know that the Planned Parenthood thing is pure poppycock politics and I trust no one is co-mingling them over this larger matter. In regards to the need for the bank the world is not of one trading accord.

  2. Solly permalink
    July 24, 2015 2:27 PM

    Corporations and big banks are sitting on trillions of dollars they could invest, but don’t want to risk (or pay to their employes who’ve increased productivity or to the U.S. Gubment in taxes who protects their assets and people overseas). Geez Deke, I thought TPP and the European trade pact was the end all, be all of “free trade.” So, why do we and other nations need these special banks and subsidies to finance trade. Can’t they do away with these superfluous entities? And Mr. “Process,” why is it okay to add the E/I Bank to a non-germane bill? Cruz is fighting for process. You criticized Rand Paul for trying to bring up a non-germane amendment, but McConnell is fine with adding E/I Bank to a transportation bill.

  3. July 24, 2015 12:22 PM

    I see this in two ways.

    First it has always been a way to level the playing field and allow for our exporters to have the same abilities as other nations. There was an article in the paper over the recent past (this spring) that commercial banks even if they wanted to could not pick up the duties and bulk of financing of the Export-Import Bank. There is nothing wrong with regulated use of monies of this kind for business when it makes a gain for the nation.

    Second, it seems that this idea that has been in place for many decades is now an issue only because those who fail to understand that government is about governing have enough voice to make a ruckus. That can not to be tolerated.

  4. Solly permalink
    July 24, 2015 12:06 PM

    yes, corporate welfare like the Export Import Bank must be preserved at all costs. We can’t have the private sector risking its own funds in capitalism.

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