In a dramatic speech on the Senate floor on Friday, Ted Cruz accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying to the other Republican Senators about a deal to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank. And interestingly, McConnell has no response.
It’s kind of hard for McConnell to deny the charge, since he lied before the entire Republican caucus.
Why, since the lie was so public, is Cruz the only one to call him on it? That’s not a hard question. McConnell is very powerful and could pull strings that could seriously dampen the career of any Republican in the Senate, or even terminate them by not giving them money for their campaigns.
As an explanation, the Export-Import Bank is an institution set up to transfer wealth from taxpayers to large corporations. It provides loan guarantees worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to large corporations such as Boeing, GE, Caterpillar, and others. It’s the quintessential corporate welfare program.
Cruz was then interviewed on the Mark Levin Radio Show last night, and I’d like to give you excerpts of his narration of his story, as he told it there. These remarks are edited by me for brevity and clarity, taking out some of the redundancies and parenthetical remarks. But I have been absolutely faithful to the meaning and intent of what he said on the air:
At a Senate lunch, in the middle of the debate over Trade Promotion Authority, there was a huddle on the Senate floor, and it looked like a deal was cut. And so at the Senate Republican lunch, I stood up and I asked Mitch McConnell, “Was there a deal cut? Did you cut a deal to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank?” And he looked me in the eye, he looked every Republican in the eye, he said, “There was no deal, there was no deal, there was no deal.” He repeated it three times. He said, all I told them was they could offer an amendment just like any other Senator could on any amendable bill, but they would get no special privileges, no, nothing. He was absolutely explicit on that front.
And, I’ll tell you Mark, I went back to my Senate office at the time, and my staff all told me, “He’s lying to you. What he said is not true.” And when I heard my staff say that, I said, “You know, he may or may not be, but I don’t see how I can cast a vote based on my suspicion that he’s not telling me the truth. If the Majority Leader looks me in the eye and makes an explicit promise that there’s no deal to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank, I have to take him at his word.”
Well, what he demonstrated today is that was a mistake, that it was nothing more than a flat-out lie. Because what he did today is, he didn’t just open up the bill and let anyone amend what they wanted, he personally called up the amendment, which, because he’s Majority Leader, he can block every other Senator out. Then he did what’s called “filling the tree,” which, as you know, is the procedural game Harry Reid used to play all the time to shut off amendments. And then he did what’s called “filing cloture on the amendment,” which is an extraordinary procedure to force a vote on the amendment. . . .
And, by the way, in this Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid are arm-in-arm. In fact, Harry Reid tweeted out a tweet thanking Mitch McConnell for his great leadership in re-authorizing the corporate welfare of the Export-Import Bank. It’s one party. It’s the McConnell-Reid leadership team. And they fight for the same priorities.
Of course, there is no response to Cruz, except to attack the messenger. If you look in the establishment press, you’ll see the following reports:
The Washington Post, calling Cruz a “firebrand Senator,” reported the incident and wound up the article accusing Cruz of violating Senate decorum, and hinting that Cruz did this because he was running for President.
The New York Times, calling Cruz a “combative figure,” included in its article a list of issues where Cruz has made trouble for the Republican establishment. It also said that Cruz had breached Senate decorum and possibly broken its rules.
Is that to be our focus, then, that Cruz violated decorum, and not that McConnell showed his corruption? For me, count me as one who is in favor of violating decorum to expose corruption–as the Savior did with the money-changers in the temple. Cruz showed uncommon courage here, and if we wish to clean up our government, we need to applaud stances like this. But the establishment media, of course, has no interest in cleaning up the corruption in Washington.
And here, if you’re interested, is the 20-minute video of Cruz’s remarks on the Senate floor, courtesy of Conservative Review:
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