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Sat Feb 15, 2014, 02:47 AM

John Cornyn: For the sake of the nation and the GOP, Ted Cruz’s filibuster had to be shut down

By Jonathan Tilove

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said Friday that the well-being of the nation and the Republican Party required him to thwart fellow Texas Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster of a measure to raise the debt ceiling.

“I think it would have been bad for the economy, bad for the American people, and I don’t think it would have been good politics either,” Cornyn said.

“Obviously I would have loved for Ted and I to be exactly two peas in a pod on everything, but in this case he chose to exercise his right as a senator, and I do believe he had that right, which is not to consent to an up or down vote,” Cornyn told the American-Statesman editorial board Friday in a candid rehashing of the dramatic events from the Senate floor Wednesday that further exposed a rift between Texas’ senior and junior senators.

With Cruz’s refusal to accede to a vote, at least five Senate Republicans would have to join the Democratic majority to force a vote on the debt measure, allowing the Democrats to pass it with a simple majority and avert a crisis when the federal government hits its debt limit at the end of the month.

In the end, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, signaled on the floor that they were ready to close down Cruz, leading 10 other Republicans to join them.

“So it was certainly an uncomfortable moment, but I don’t have any regret about the decision,” Cornyn said.

Absent a debt ceiling vote, Cornyn said the Senate and the nation faced the specter of “another crisis of governance, and I felt in the end a responsibility to make sure that we did not end up with another shutdown or worse.”

The Senate voted 67-31 to end Cruz’s filibuster. A vote to raise the debt ceiling followed, and it passed, 55-43, on a strict party-line vote with Cornyn voting against it. The extraordinary sequence followed on the heels of an earlier, equally unusual turn of events in the House, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was unable to assemble a Republican majority to approve a debt ceiling increase.

“So he chose the ugly alternative, which was to pass that debt ceiling increase with mainly Democratic votes and 28 Republican votes,” said Cornyn.

“In politics and in life, people that share the same goals approach those goals with different tactics, and that was the case again here,” Cornyn said. “But particularly with what happened with the continuing resolution fight late last year, I don’t think anybody, including me, had the appetite for a shutdown scenario, and, given the fact the House did what it did and left town, there really wasn’t any reasonable alternative.”


“If 41 Republicans had stood together and just voted `no,’ the clean debt ceiling, the bank check President Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi want, would have been denied,” Cruz said on Marc Levin’s radio show Thursday night.

Cornyn believes that Cruz’s approach is counterproductive for Republicans and their hopes of regaining control of the Senate in 2014.

“To me, the most important thing that Republicans could do is win the election in November, and that requires us demonstrating that we are capable of governing,” Cornyn said. “When you’re a minority party, you don’t have that responsibility, but now I think we do, and so I think my action and the action of 11 others who decided to vote for cloture, although we knew that would be an unpopular vote, it felt like it was our responsibility in order to accomplish the larger goal.”

“I think that if we failed to demonstrate that we were trustworthy and responsible by our actions, then I think that would have hurt our chances of accomplishing that goal,” Cornyn said.


The complete article is at http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/john-cornyn-for-the-sake-of-the-nation-and-the-gop/ndPtR/?icmp=statesman_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_statesmanstubtomystatesmanpremium# (subscription required).

*I realize that this thread exceeds the four paragraph minimum; however I hope that can be overlooked since Cornyn's quotes are not available from any other source.

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