Republicans fear they’re squandering lame duck

Shortly after winning reelection this month, Ted Cruz implored his Republican colleagues at a private lunch to use the GOP’s last days of unified control in Washington to ram through a boatload of conservative priorities.

The Texas senator urged Republicans to use budget reconciliation before Democrats take the House in January and that they do things like overhaul Obamacare, fund the border wall and chip away at regulations, according to attendees. Cruz argued this would be the GOP’s final chance to deploy the powerful party-line voting maneuver, which Republicans used to cut taxes last year while avoiding a Democratic filibuster.

His colleagues were unmoved. To them, it was just one more request in a sea of them in this lame-duck session. Among items on the wish list from various Republican factions: more tax cuts, a new trade deal, criminal justice reform, full funding of the border wall, a farm bill, protecting special counsel Robert Mueller and confirmation of a slew of nominees.