By Hill Staff - 09/23/13 11:44 PM EDT
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rubs lawmakers on both sides of the aisle the wrong way. And he doesn’t seem to mind.
The freshman senator is leading the charge to defund ObamaCare and has vowed to do everything he can to eradicate the president’s signature law.
The House defunding bill passed last week mostly along party lines. Now, it’s the Senate’s turn, House GOP leaders say.
The problem for Republicans is that Democrats run the Senate, and Cruz doesn’t have the votes he needs. He doesn’t even have all the Republicans on his side.
Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) are not on board with Cruz’s plan, which critics say is political suicide.
Democrats note that the Affordable Care Act has survived repeal attempts, a Supreme Court challenge and the 2012 presidential election.
The Senate is expected to pass a government funding bill that doesn’t include the GOP’s ObamaCare provisions. Passage isn’t expected until this weekend.
Then, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will have to decide whether to pass the Senate bill. Or, he can send the Senate another measure.
But time is running out. Unless a bill is signed by Tuesday, there will be a government shutdown.
For now, Cruz has the spotlight. He and other Republicans, including Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), will make the case that their party must make its stand now on ObamaCare.
Cruz, eyeing a 2016 White House bid, is popular on the right. But he is not a beloved figure in Washington.
“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.”
It’s unclear how the showdown will end. But it’s likely that Cruz will be ripped by both parties for his effort to defund ObamaCare.