Cruz refuses to stand down

Cruz refuses to stand down
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Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas) on Monday defended his decision to delay a final vote on the $1.1 trillion spending bill over the weekend, which is helping Senate Democrats confirm nearly two dozen of President Obama's nominations.

Cruz’s colleagues have voiced frustration with his actions, suggesting he walked into Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE’s (D-Nev.) trap.

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But Cruz cast himself and ally Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSupreme Court takes on same-sex wedding cake case House approves motion to go to tax conference — with drama Trump really will shrink government, starting with national monuments MORE (R-Utah) as fighters willing to take on the Obama administration and GOP leaders as too willing to go with the flow.

“Leadership was angry. They were angry because they did not want to fight this fight now. And Mike Lee and I thought it was important to get a vote now, to get the Democrats on record, and we hoped every Republican on record against executive amnesty,” Cruz said in a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Monday afternoon.

Cruz and Lee held up voting on the spending bill by refusing to allow unanimous consent to speed up the vote unless the Senate first cast a vote on whether to stop Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Once Reid realized he’d have the extra time, he used it to allow the Senate to cast procedural votes to set up confirmations for 23 of President Obama's nominees. 

“Harry Reid responded in frankly a petulant way, insisting that the Senate come in on Saturday and spend all day in a series of unrelated votes,” Cruz said. “At the end of the day, we were finally able to get our vote.”

Nearly half of Senate Republicans did not stand with Cruz, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Study: ObamaCare bills backed by Collins would lower premiums Right scrambles GOP budget strategy MORE (Maine) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) labeling his move “counterproductive.”

“While the president’s executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency,” said Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (R-Tenn.).

Cruz said Republican leadership “aggressively whipped” against his point of order, resulting in 20 Republicans voting against it. He chalked the differences up to “a procedural disagreement.”

“I'm taking them at their word that they were jumping ship because of concerns on the procedural tool, but come January, come February, they have committed up and down that they're going to be here to stop amnesty,” Cruz said.

Earlier Monday, Lee appeared on Fox's "America's Newsroom" to defend the delay, noting Reid would have likely tried to advance nominees regardless of the delay.

Cruz noted that 22 Republican senators voted for his point of order, including himself and Lee, while every Senate Democrat “is now on the record” supporting Obama's executive action shielding up to 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation. 

While Cruz said he hoped the weekend fight “sets the stage” for Republican leaders to take action against Obama’s use of executive authority in January or February, he said it was an “open question” whether they would.

“It's funny, they use the term selfish — to actually honor the commitments you made to your constituents. ‘That's not playing the rules of the game.’ Well you know what, the rules of the game have resulted in bankrupting our kids and grandkids and seeing our constitutional liberties eroded, and enough is enough,” Cruz said.

“I spent two months campaigning all over this country, helping retire Harry Reid and win this new majority, and I'll tell you, Senate and House candidates said over and over again, elect us and we will stop President Obama's illegal executive amnesty. We gotta honor our word.”

Cruz's comments came before the Senate voted 51-43 to approve Obama's pick for surgeon general, despite Republican opposition.
 
"There's a first time for everything, but public health advocates can thank Ted Cruz tonight for his help getting Vivek Murthy confirmed," White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted Monday.