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

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill Strategist behind Warren's political rise to meet with O'Rourke: report Trump tells McConnell to let Senate vote on criminal justice reform 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 CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainOvernight Defense: Senate Armed Services chair eyes Russia, China threats | Pushes Trump not to cut defense budget | Mattis says US looking for more Khashoggi evidence Dem strategist says Trump should not have attended George H.W. Bush's funeral Inhofe eyes Russian, Chinese threats in first major speech as Armed Services chairman MORE (R-Ariz.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNRCC breach exposes gaps 2 years after Russia hacks Hillicon Valley: Ecuador says 'road is clear' for Assange to leave embassy | Panel questioned Bannon on Cambridge Analytica | Trump aide says US knew about arrest of Huawei exec | Judges grill DOJ lawyers on AT&T merger appeal Bannon interviewed with Senate Intelligence panel on Cambridge Analytica: report 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 BoehnerThree Republicans battle to succeed Meadows at House Freedom Caucus What insurgent Dems can learn from the Democratic Study Group Feehery: 5 reasons Pelosi should be Speaker 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 LeeCongress digs in for prolonged Saudi battle GOP tensions running high on criminal justice bill Senate edges closer to rebuking Trump on Saudi Arabia MORE (Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' John Kelly’s exit raises concerns about White House future Rubio: We don’t need direct evidence crown prince ‘ordered the code red’ on Khashoggi killing 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.