OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Ted Cruz took the highly unusual step of using a public forum on Tuesday to call for his Senate leader to step aside after he and other GOP leaders initially agreed to a “bipartisan” border bill that still allowed millions of migrants into the country illegally each year.
During a press conference, the Texas Republican was asked if he believes it is time for McConnell (R-Ky.) to step down after the deal collapsed amid pressure from conservatives and GOP constituents who complained that the bill did more to secure Ukraine and other foreign nations than it did the U.S. border.
“I think it is,” Cruz responded as he pointed out that all the GOP senators standing with him wanted McConnell to step aside. “I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans.”
Cruz was joined by Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), JD Vance (R-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KN) and Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
Later, McConnell was asked to respond to Cruz’s comments, to which he said: “I think we can all agree that Sen. Cruz is not a fan.”
Earlier Wednesday, some Republican senators were overheard engaging in loud conversations behind closed doors as they debated legislation that would provide some funding for the border but much more in aid to countries like Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.
Fox News Capitol Hill reporter Aishah Hasnie told the network program “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday morning that even one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, is now likely to vote against it because of its highly controversial provisions such as continuing to allow thousands of illegal migrants into the country daily before President Joe Biden would be compelled to shut the border down.
Here’s what Hasnie told Fox News:
While the past 24 hours have been nothing short of stunning here, we knew that this border deal was dead on arrival in the House, but it’s not likely to make it out of the Senate at all. Republicans are poised to take a procedural vote on this tomorrow, and it’s likely at the author of this big bipartisan deal. The Republican author is likely to vote no on it as well, as well as a Senate majority leader or minority leader.
Senate Republicans met last night at a closed-door meeting, which got so heated, Dana, at times, that myself and other reporters could actually hear screaming coming from inside the room. When leader Mitch McConnell emerged from the room, he told me that he had a great discussion and that the conference will keep on talking.
Now, Senator James Lankford, the lead GOP negotiator on this, told me it is clear that the majority of the conference is not ready to vote on this thing, but that there is still interest in adding real amendments and shaping into something, perhaps, that they can stomach. He insists, though, the bill is not dead, but it looks like he may also vote no tomorrow, just for the sake of party unity. Democrats are already lashing out on that lead,
Democrat negotiator Chris Murphy tweeting this honestly, this is so embarrassing. You told us you wanted a bipartisan border fix. You appointed the Republican negotiator. We got a deal. Stop the drama. Now, there were three senators on the left that had also rejected the bill. But the goal really here, Dana, was to get half of each conference on board. That is not going to happen. Leader Schumer is expected to go on and put this on the floor for a cloture vote tomorrow. Again, that’s expected to fail. As all eyes now shift to the House, where we are watching this impeachment in a few hours.