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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cruz and the Rules

Politico reports:
Ted Cruz can’t even get a protest vote in the Senate anymore.
On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.
It was the second time that Cruz had been denied a procedural courtesy that’s routinely granted to senators in both parties. The first came after he called McConnell a liar this summer.
The Congressional Research Service explains:
When a Senator asks for the yeas and nays, the presiding officer responds by asking, “Is there a sufficient second?” Senators who support the request for a roll call vote then raise their hands to be counted. The support of 11 Senators usually constitutes a sufficient second, because the Senate presumes that a minimal quorum is present, unless and until a call of the roll documents that a quorum is not present.
The Dallas Morning News picks up the story:
“The people who show up at the polls, who elected you and me, and who elected this Republican majority, far too many of the Republican donors look down on those voters as a bunch of ignorant hicks and rubes,” said Cruz. “It wasn’t too long ago when the Washington Cartel was able to mask it all with a show vote or two, and they’d tell the rubes back home, ‘See, we voted on it, we just don’t have the votes.”
Cruz eventually ran out of time, and was denied by Democrats when he asked for more. He was caught on a hot C-SPAN microphone explaining he didn’t know he was under a time limit, and left the floor to a mostly empty Capitol.
The themes of Cruz’s speech weren’t new, and neither was the procedural move he made beforehand. But his remarks reflected how isolated he’s become in Congress, and the ground he’s losing on the fight to defund Planned Parenthood.