Quotes of the day

A vast majority of the Senate disagreed with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) assertion that President Obama’s executive order on immigration is unconstitutional…

“If you believe President Obama’s executive order was unconstitutional vote yes,” Cruz said ahead of the vote on Saturday. “If you think the president’s executive order is constitutional vote no.”

Only 22 senators voted with Cruz and 74 voted against his point of order…

Many Republicans blasted Cruz and Lee’s “strategy” as being ill conceived and a waste of time.


A small group of conservatives, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), had tried to block debate on the bill by raising concerns with Obama’s immigration policy, forcing a marathon weekend session. The move infuriated their colleagues, particularly Republicans who complained that forcing senators to stay in session produced nothing positive for the GOP and only helped Democrats in their bid to approve a final batch of Obama’s nominees for government posts…

The move forced members of both parties to abruptly cancel holiday and retirement festivities back home. Some senators slogged through the Capitol hallways with their young children in tow. Several skipped the Army-Navy football game in Baltimore. Staffers forced to work entertained out-of-town guests by giving them rare weekend access to the Capitol…

Democrats said the setback was an especially embarrassing blow to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is slated to lead the chamber next year and has sought to complete unfinished business before GOP control begins. Confident that he had a deal with Reid, McConnell left the Capitol before 9:30 p.m. Friday, telling reporters as he stepped into an elevator: “See you Monday.”


On the floor, angry GOP senators pressed Cruz over whether he was fundraising off of his tactics, sources said, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins ripped him in a private conversation. Several Republicans were discussing whether to mount a protest vote against Cruz: Unite in opposition to his point-of-order challenging the constitutionality of the spending bill’s funding of Obama’s immigration move…

Even some like-minded conservative senators, like Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who huddled with Cruz and Lee on Saturday, didn’t feel compelled to publicly back the strategy.

When asked if he backed the Lee-Cruz move, Sessions would say only that he wasn’t responsible for it.

“I don’t have any more to say about it,” Sessions said…

“It’s a bad idea,” Flake said of Cruz’s uncompromising tactics. “You can only do that so much. You can’t do that all the time.”


“I think this is ridiculous,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who had already returned to New Hampshire with plans to “to see The Nutcracker with her daughter this weekend,” told Politico…

“The answer is no,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Politico when he was asked if what Cruz and Lee are doing is effective. Hatch was re-elected in 2012 despite a strong primary challenger from the right, and is up for re-election again in 2018. Hatch, like Ayotte, voted for the Gang of Eight amnesty bill…

“I’m not happy with the strategy that [Cruz] has come up with,” Collins told reporters. “I think it’s counterproductive and will have the end result of causing nominees who I think are not well qualified to be confirmed. So I don’t understand the approach that he is taking. I think it’s very unfortunate and counterproductive.”…

“I don’t know what the strategy is,” Isakson, who had to cancel a flight back home to Atlanta he had scheduled for Saturday morning, told Politico.



The extra time over the weekend gave Reid the opportunity to, through the Senate’s executive session, file cloture on the nominations and move them sooner than they would have under the deal Reid and McConnell had planned on and that Cruz and Lee blocked. Under the original deal Reid would have had to schedule votes on the nominees later in the upcoming week, when Democrats may not have wanted to stick around to vote.

“It allows us to speed up the time when we could get going on these noms, rather than waiting until next week,” a top Senate Democratic aide told TPM on Saturday evening. “It gets harder to get them all done when you’re running up on the end of the Congress.”



Democrats weren’t surprised that the conservative duo struck again.

“They’re all about headlines. They’re trying to get attention for themselves. They’ve succeeded in doing that,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

In his current maneuvering, Cruz sent a shot across the bow at incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, suggesting the two should not be entirely trusted to keep their promise to challenge Obama’s immigration policy when the all-Republican Congress takes over in January.

“We will learn soon enough if those statements are genuine and sincere,” Cruz said Friday night.


[W}e will be in the same place by Monday as we would be if Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) hadn’t objected to Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV).

A Senate source outside the Cruz and Lee offices with direct knowledge of the behind the scenes conversations tells me, “GOP leadership knew Reid was going to file cloture on up to 20 controversial nominations yesterday afternoon before they tried to move CROmnibus votes to monday. They told us the process to clear non-controversial nominations had broken down because Reid was going to file cloture on these nominations. So they knew this was going to happen regardless.”…

The Republican leadership is arguing that they might have been able to convince Reid to hold off on these controversial nominations if we played ball on the CROmnibus, but that’s just speculation. The tradeoff last night was for Lee et al to give up their right to offer amendments on the CROmnibus in exchange for the possibility that Reid wouldn’t go through with his nominations, if he was feeling generous.

In Washington, more and more Republicans and their pundit allies have decided poop sandwiches sure are tasty!


“I think most Republicans think that Christmas came early for Democrats,” Graham said “I haven’t seen Harry smile this much in years, and I didn’t particularly like it.”…

The Cruz scenario could be a taste of what Senate Republicans have to look forward to in the majority next year after differences over how to best respond to President Obama’s executive action on immigration tripped up the GOP lame-duck strategy.

“Sen. Cruz has got to figure out who he is and what he wants to be,” Graham said…

“I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.


It’s a question that will prove crucial next year when Mitch McConnell takes the reins of a new Senate: Just how big is the Ted Cruz caucus?

Three votes on the “cromnibus” late Saturday night suggest it could be as large as 22 senators — a dangerously high number for McConnell — or as few as a handful…

An even smaller subset of the Senate Republicans — 11 of them — voted with Cruz against final passage, for his point of order and to filibuster the bill in the first place: Crapo, Lee, Moran, Paul, Portman, Risch, Rubio, Scott, Shelby, Sessions and Vitter.

That’s more than enough to cause McConnell trouble given that he will have 54 Republicans in his camp and will need to get to 60 votes on most bills and likely 51 Republicans to pass a budget resolution.