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

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Trump on defense over economic jitters 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 McCainMcCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death Arizona poll shows Kelly overtaking McSally 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Trump withdraws Ratcliffe as Intelligence pick 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 BoehnerLobbyists race to cash in on cannabis boom Rising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief This little engine delivers results for DC children 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 LeeMcConnell, allies lean into Twitter, media 'war' Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid MORE (Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move 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.