Schumer: Tea Party, Ted Cruz 'have peaked'

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said the GOP learned a lesson from the fiscal fight that ended Wednesday, adding that he doesn’t think Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will recover quickly.  

“I’ve talked to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch [McConnell (R-Ky.)] about this. I think the whole Republican Senate is different now. I don’t think Ted Cruz will recover so quickly. I think the Tea Party and Ted Cruz have peaked,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday. 

He called McConnell a “profile-in-courage,” saying that the Kentucky Republican has more political pressure on him than Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). 

McConnell forged a bipartisan deal with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling through the beginning of next year as the Oct. 17 deadline approached. It passed in the Senate 88-18, and later the House voted 285-144 in favor of the bill Wednesday night.

“The Republican Party has learned a lesson here. I think you’re going to see more of a mainstream Republican Party. I don’t think we’re going to see the same kind of brinkmanship on Jan. 15 and Feb. 7,” Schumer said. 

But the hard right won’t change, he added. “You listened to Ted Cruz’s speech on the Senate floor yesterday. He’s in his own world. He thinks the American people are behind him.”

Cruz, a freshman Tea Party senator from Texas, has received low approval ratings since the government shutdown began. His more moderate colleagues largely blame him for the GOP’s failure in the fiscal debate. The Republican Party has also taken a major hit in the polls since the government closed Oct. 1. The Tea Party, which made major political waves in 2010, suffered its lowest approval ratings, too. 

“I think, in a certain sense, this was a Rubicon,” Schumer said.