Ted Cruz voted to allow a shutdown after saying he consistently opposed them
The senator was one of just nine Republicans to vote against a stopgap spending bill on Saturday.
A bipartisan agreement to keep the federal government operating at last year’s funding levels for another six weeks passed in the Senate by a vote of 88-9 on Saturday, narrowly averting a damaging shutdown. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who faces a competitive reelection race in 2024, was one of the nine Republicans who voted no, despite having repeatedly claimed to oppose government shutdowns.
The bill passed in the House 335-91 and was signed into law by President Joe Biden hours before funding was expected to run out at midnight on Saturday. It contained additional disaster relief funding and a three-month extension to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to keep operating.
A shutdown would have meant armed services members and other essential federal employees would have had to work without pay, government employees would have been furloughed, low-income families would have been unable to access food aid, and food safety inspections would have ground to a halt.
Cruz is one of two Republican Senate incumbents facing a competitive reelection race in 2024, according to the Cook Political Report.
In recent weeks, he cheered on efforts by the right-wing House Freedom Caucus to block any compromises and instead force massive spending cuts in return for not shutting down the government.
“Washington often presents a false choice that either … you have to completely concede to the massive spending, the unprecedented debt that is fueling inflation that is hurting Texans across the state, you either have to completely roll over to the Democrats, or the alternative is a shutdown,” Cruz said, according to a Sept. 18 Spectrum News report. “I don’t think we should have a shutdown.”
He was one of just seven senators, all Republicans, to vote last month against beginning debate on a three bill “minibus” package to fund the departments of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and military construction.
Cruz was the architect of a 2013 shutdown that he used as a strategy to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. His efforts failed, and, according to the most recent data, the law helped provide health insurance coverage for more than 1.8 million Texans in 2022.
Cruz falsely claimed to reporters in 2018: “We should not be shutting the government down. I have consistently opposed shutdowns. In 2013, I said we shouldn’t shut the government down.”
In a statement on Saturday, Cruz said: “Democrats are opposed to spending cuts, or spending limits of any kind, even their own spending limit that they agreed to less than four months ago. This continuing resolution does nothing to address the acute crisis at the Texas-Mexico border, itself created by deliberate Democrat policies. I voted no.”
Amanda Sherman Baity, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, blasted Cruz on Sunday for the vote: “Today, Ted Cruz voted against the well-being of Texans and our country. Instead of working in a bipartisan manner, Cruz put his own political agenda first, risking a government shutdown that would jeopardize our economy and disrupt services Texans rely on. In 2024, his vote to shut down the government and his refusal to do his job will give Texas voters another reason to fire Cruz.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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