CREDIT: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Wednesday raised fears that the shutdown of the federal government that he helped launch could potentially lead to an attack on the United States of America, calling on his fellow senators to to pass a separate resolution funding the Defense Department.
Cruz was speaking at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee related to reforms of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act. Earlier in the hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper informed members of the committee that the federal shutdown had caused the suspension of 70 percent of the intelligence community’s civilian work force. In response, Cruz suggested that a miniature continuing resolution funding only the Department of Defense and the intelligence community could be passed through the Senate today. “I don’t believe President Obama should be playing politics with this,” he said. “He shouldn’t be refusing to negotiate or compromise.”
CRUZ: If the Senate cooperates, we could get this passed by the end of the day. We could respond to the national security threat these two gentlemens [sic] have laid out. The only impediment to doing so is the prospects that Majority Leader Harry Reid would object to doing so. If, God forbid, we see an attack on the United States because the intelligence community was not adequately funded, every member of the committee would be horrified. So I hope issues of partisan politics can be set aside and we can all come together and pass, right now by the end of the day, a continuing resolution to fully fund the Department of Defense and intelligence community.
What Cruz did not mention during his speech was that he is the reason a separate bill would be needed at all. For weeks, he and his allies in the House and Senate have insisted that any continuing resolution that fund the government past Sept. 30 would have to remove funding for the Affordable Care Act. Just last week, he launched a 21 hour speech, dubbed a “faux-libuster” to convince his Republican colleagues to hold the line on stripping Obamacare from the continuing resolution. He’s also paid for numerous ads on cable television denouncing Obamacare and imploring that watchers call their senators to oppose funding it.
A clean continuing resolution — including funding for not only Obamacare but also the Departments of Defense, State, Veterans Affairs, and the entirety of federal operations — has always been the goal of the White House and Senate Democrats. When their demands were not met, the government shut down on Tuesday, leading to the furloughs that Cruz denounced as threatening America’s safety.
(HT: Charlie Savage)