Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) conceded on Wednesday that he would not hold up a vote on an emerging Senate deal to re-open the federal government and avert federal default, but admitted that the three-week long budget standoff — which began with his 21-hour speech on the Senate floor — was nothing more than an effort to build up his fundraising list.
“My focus is, I think, where the American people’s focus is, which is what are we doing to provide real relief to the people who are hurting because of Obamacare and today,” Cruz told reporters after meeting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), before reiterating his commitment to repealing the health care law.
Asked what he has gained from holding-up a deal for weeks, Cruz pointed to a political petition he has been promoting for days:
CRUZ: We have seen a remarkable thing happen. Months ago when the effort to defund Obamacare began, official Washington scoffed. They scoffed that the American people would rise up. They scoffed that the House of Representatives would do anything and they scoffed that the Senate would do anything. We saw first of all, millions of millions of American people rising up across this country, over two million people signing a national petition to defund Obamacare. We saw the House of Representatives take a courageous stand listening to the American people that everyone in official Washington said wouldn’t happen.
But while more than two million people added their names to a website run by The Senate Conservative Fund — a political PAC that supports Cruz– urging Congress defund the Affordable Care Act, popular support for the health care law has actually increased since the shutdown began on Sep. 30. The Gallup poll reported on Tuesday that “half of Americans today want the Affordable Care Act repealed or scaled back, down from 57 percent in January 2011.”
In three week period following Cruz’s speech — even as GOP’s national approval ratings plummeted — conservatives frantically built their fundraising lists and campaign coffers. In the last quarter, Cruz’s political action committee raised in $797,000, nearly twice what it pulled in the quarter prior, and Heritage Action — which has pressured conservatives to vote against any bill that does not undermine Obamcare — collected $330,000.
Unfortunately, the rest of the country hasn’t fared nearly as well. Economists predict that the country lost thousands of jobs, billions in economic output, diminished consumer confidence, and the prospect of a lower credit rating.