By Jonathan Easley - 09/19/13 12:25 PM EDT
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sought to reassure his colleagues in the House late Wednesday that Republicans in the Senate fully backed their effort to defund the president’s healthcare law.
“I guarantee you one thing, [Sen.] Mike [Lee (R-Utah)] and I are going to fight with every breath in our body,” Cruz said. “As Churchill said, we will fight on the beaches, we will fight in the streets, we will fight at every step to stop the biggest job killer in America.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Cruz infuriated House Republicans by releasing a statement in which he first lauded their efforts to defund ObamaCare by threatening a government shutdown but seemed to indicate that the House’s continuing resolution was dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
"[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said in a statement on Wednesday. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
The statement quickly drew fire from rank-and-file House Republicans.
But speaking to Sean Hannity late Wednesday, Cruz seemed to backtrack, calling Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to side with Tea Party conservatives in the House on a push to defund ObamaCare “a victory.”
“Today’s announcement is a big, big deal,” he said. “A few weeks ago, every graybeard in Washington said there’s no chance of this going forward, and today is a victory for House conservatives … and today is a victory for Speaker Boehner. … I commend House leadership for listening to the American people.”
“I look forward to working with [Sen.] Mike [Lee] to fight in the Senate to support this decision for us to succeed in defunding ObamaCare,” he added.