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

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump changes mean only wealthy immigrants may apply, says critic The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Viral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate 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 CoburnCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard John McCain was a taxpayer hero The White House can — and should — bypass Congress to kill Obama-era spending MORE (R-Okla.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote MORE (R-Ariz.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHillicon Valley: Rosenstein drama dominates the day | Biz, regulators focus on 5G revolution | New questions over Trump cyber strategy Key House Dem's objections stall intel bill as deadline looms Trump assures storm victims in Carolinas: 'We will be there 100 percent' 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 BoehnerDemocrats should be careful what they wish for Blue wave poses governing risks for Dems Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? 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 LeeThis week: Kavanaugh nomination thrown into further chaos Ex-college classmate accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week MORE (Utah) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioJudd Gregg: Two ideas whose time has not come Nikki Haley: New York Times ‘knew the facts’ about curtains and still released story March For Our Lives founder leaves group, says he regrets trying to 'embarrass' Rubio 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.