Corker takes on Cruz as GOP feuding moves to the Senate floor
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Feuding in the Republican Conference moved to the Senate floor Thursday as Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Senate GOP sounds alarm over Trump's floated auto tariffs Biden, Corker honored with Freedom House human rights awards MORE (R-Tenn.) accused two colleagues of risking a government shutdown as a publicity stunt.

“The reason you don’t want to send a bill over to the House, who could possibly put in place some very good policies for us here, is that you want the American people and the outside groups that you’ve been in contact with to be able to watch us tomorrow,” Corker said to Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzPro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform Tapper lists 'conspiracy theories' Trump has shared MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeDenial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health GOP Senate primary heats up in Montana Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Utah), two Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers.

Corker accused Cruz and Lee of playing to the cameras after Lee balked at a request to accelerate the process for considering a stopgap spending bill that also would defund ObamaCare.

Cruz and Lee objected to ending debate on the bill because it would allow Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) to strip the ObamaCare language with a simple majority vote.

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Corker argued for holding the vote Thursday evening so that Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJim Jordan as Speaker is change America needs to move forward Paul Ryan’s political purgatory Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt MORE (R-Ohio) would have more time to respond to the Senate action. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJim Jordan as Speaker is change America needs to move forward Paul Ryan’s political purgatory Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt MORE said earlier in the day that the House would not accept a government funding resolution without language defunding the Affordable Care Act.

“Is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah that the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important to us that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint and actually have a body that has a majority of Republicans to be able to react and send back something of good policy?” Corker asked.

Andy Roth, the vice president of government affairs at Club for Growth, immediately blasted Corker for taking on Cruz.

“Sen. Corker effectively became a Democrat just now on the Senate floor,” he tweeted.

The Club for Growth has a long track record of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars against Republican incumbents it deems insufficiently conservative.

The Senate Democratic war room immediately released a transcript of the floor exchange, highlighting Corker’s comments.

Corker questioned Cruz’s and Lee’s motives by noting they voted to end debate on proceeding to the stopgap after speaking for 21 hours on the Senate floor in protest of the healthcare reform law and Reid’s plans to move the spending legislation.

A visibly irritated Cruz said he could not believe his ears.

“He must have made a misstatement when he moments ago suggested that those of us who participated in the filibuster the other day somehow changed our position,” he fumed. “The reason I know the senator from Tennessee is mistaken is because during the course of that filibuster, I explicitly stated I support the motion to proceed.”

Cruz said he stated last week that he would support the first vote on ending debate to proceed to the bill.

Cruz’s office released a statement defending his insistence on voting Friday midday instead of Thursday evening.

“Sen. Reid asked to waive the Senate rules to allow the vote to be moved to Thursday night, but it is better that the debate play out in the full light of day so the American people know exactly what is happening,” said Sean Rushton, Cruz’s communications director. “America will be watching closely which senators vote to allow Democrats to fully fund Obamacare, and the vote should be carried out in the open for all to see."

Reid has scheduled four votes beginning Friday at 12:30 p.m.

One is on ending debate on the stopgap; the second is on waiving a budgetary objection to its funding level, which exceeds the Budget Control Act; the third is on an amendment stripping the language to defund ObamaCare; and the fourth is on final passage.

— This story was posted at 5:04 p.m. and updated at 6:24 p.m.