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Player of the Week: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProtesters confront Cruz at airport over Kavanaugh vote O'Rourke targets Cruz with several attack ads a day after debate Election Countdown: O'Rourke goes on the attack | Takeaways from fiery second Texas Senate debate | Heitkamp apologizes for ad misidentifying abuse victims | Trump Jr. to rally for Manchin challenger | Rick Scott leaves trail to deal with hurricane damage MORE (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.

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House Republican leaders reluctantly embraced the Cruz strategy after their initial government funding plan was rejected by Tea Party lawmakers.

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 CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnAmerican patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access Live coverage: Donnelly, Braun clash in Indiana debate The Hill's Morning Report — How will the Kavanaugh saga impact the midterms? MORE (R-Okla.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after midterms Comey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race Live coverage: McSally clashes with Sinema in Arizona Senate debate MORE (R-Ariz.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel The National Trails System is celebrating 50 years today — but what about the next 50 years? MORE (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 BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern MORE (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 LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators pledge action on Saudi journalist’s disappearance Bernie Sanders: US should pull out of war in Yemen if Saudis killed journalist Senators warn Trump that Saudi relationship is on the line MORE (Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP leaders hesitant to challenge Trump on Saudi Arabia On The Money: Treasury official charged with leaking info on ex-Trump advisers | Trump to seek 5 percent budget cut from Cabinet members | Mnuchin to decide by Thursday on attending Saudi conference Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference MORE (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.