The remote possibility that Congress would pass some form of bill addressing the border crisis — even one that the president would veto — died yesterday when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) lobbied Republicans to vote against the Republican leadership’s own bill.
From the Dallas Morning News via Balloon Juice:
Facing revolt from tea partiers egged on by Sen. Ted Cruz, House Republicans gave up suddenly Thursday on a bill that would have provided hundreds of millions to address the border crisis.
It was the latest in a string of embarrassments handed to Speaker John Boehner by Cruz, and the biggest since last fall, when the Texas freshman prodded House tea partiers to defy Boehner on efforts to avert a government shutdown.
The House GOP plan included $659 million, a fraction of the $3.7 billion requested by the White House. Democrats opposed it, as did some conservative Republicans.
Cruz hosted a pizza-fueled strategy session Wednesday night with some House conservatives – a reunion of the so-called Tortilla Coast Caucus, named for the Capitol Hill restaurant where Cruz and House allies huddled during the shutdown fight.
The senator’s meddling across the Capitol has drawn predictable attacks from Democrats.
“Whether it’s shutting down the government or stopping his own party’s efforts to appear relevant and in control on a key issue, Ted Cruz can always be counted on to lead the Republican Party to his own far right extremes – and further and further away from the rational middle ground that appeals to everyone other than the Tea Party base,” taunted American Bridge, a Democratic group.
Congress was due to leave town yesterday until the second week of September with GOP hopes that they could go out and campaign on the falsehood that they passed “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is a dog-whistle for “we kept the brown horde at bay.” Now they have nothing, and the Republicans are so desperate that they’re planning on meeting again today to try and save something out of the mess, least of all their dignity. Not as long as Ted Cruz — Joe McCarthy without the charm — has anything to say about it.
Were it not for the fact that it still gets nothing done about the immigration issue and that a lot of people on both sides of the border are suffering from this lack of action, the Republicans can comfort themselves with two thoughts. First, they denied President Obama anything that could be seen as a victory for him, which has to count for something in the perverse minds of those who think that is the way to run a country. Second, despite getting less done than any other Congress in history, it will not matter come November. The polls indicate that not only will the voters not punish them, they will re-elect them at a rate that would make the North Korean legislature jealous and probably even pick up seats.