Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzRight renews push for term limits as Trump takes power Dissenting nominees give hope to GOP skeptics of Trump UN leader willing to meet lawmakers amid push to cut funding MORE (R-Texas), in a challenge to fellow Republican Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain leans toward voting for Tillerson Trump's navy build-up comes with steep price tag 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for MORE (Ariz.), said Thursday there are “more wacko birds in the Senate than suspected.”
Referring to a now-infamous McCain slight against Cruz and Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulSanders, Dems defend ObamaCare at Michigan rally Paul: Medicaid expansion 'the big question' Rand Paul: ObamaCare replacement goal is to insure most people at lowest cost MORE (R-Ky.), the Texas senator said his Arizona colleague has suggested that those blocking a budget committee conference are “wacko birds” and are a “small minority of the minority.”
“It’s been suggested that we are wacko birds,” Cruz said on the Senate floor Thursday. “If that is the case, there might be more wacko birds in the Senate than suspected.”
McCain in March branded Cruz, Paul and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGOP lawmaker on Trump's Lewis tweets: 'Dude, just stop' House passes Mattis waiver, setting up quick confirmation House takes first step to repeal ObamaCare MORE (R-Mich.) as "wacko birds on the right," a statement made after Paul conducted a talking filibuster over President Obama's drone policy. He later apologized for comments he said were inappropriate.
Cruz’s remarks Thursday came after Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillGOP must avoid Dems' mistakes when replacing ObamaCare Live coverage: Mattis confirmation hearing for Pentagon Mattis's views on women in combat takes center stage MORE (D-Mo.) asked for unanimous consent to form a budget committee conference to work out the differences between the House and Senate budgets.
For an 11th time, a GOP senator objected unless the conferees were prohibited from addressing the debt ceiling.
Cruz said he was worried that the majority would try to raise the debt ceiling through budget reconciliation rules, which allow just 51 votes for passage.
McCain has criticized members of his party for obstructing the budget process.
“What is being done here, if we agree that a small number of senators could basically change the way the Senate does business, it could have serious ramifications in the future,” McCain said.
But Cruz said McCain is assuming more GOP senators agree with McCain than Cruz. Cruz said he had the American people on his side because they are sick of Congress racking up more debt for future generations.
“Should the Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRyan says Trump, GOP 'in complete sync' on ObamaCare Congress has a mandate to repeal ObamaCare Keith Ellison picks ex-DNC Latino as press secretary MORE [D-Nev.] be allowed to raise the debt ceiling with 51 votes — that’s the issue,” Cruz said. “The American people want us to fix the problem and stop digging the debt hole deeper and deeper.”
On Wednesday, Cruz said he didn’t trust members of his own party to negotiate a budget committee conference report because both parties have over spent in the past.