By Lora-Marie Bernard
US SENATOR Ted Cruz was left to stalk the hallway when he was shut out of a key lawmakers’ meeting this week after last weekend accusing the senate’s majority leader of lying.
According to one online news report, the Republican Party’s senate leader, Mitch McConnell, exacted revenge for the Texas junior senator’s outburst by keeping him from attending a conference-committee meeting about national defense, legislation on which Cruz, right, has proposed
The Texas senator, a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination next year, fell out with McConnell last Sunday, July 26, when, in a rare senate floor display, he blasted his party boss, saying he had lied about making “a deal” over an obscure federal agency, the Export-Import Bank.
During the debate, in which Cruz argued for the sunsetting of the bank, he said McConnell had broken a promise that there was no deal to secure the extension of the independent agency until 2019.
“The majority leader, in front of every Republican senator, made that promise, looking me in the eyes – namely, that there was no deal on the Export-Import Bank, that its proponents could offer it in the regular order and there would be no special preferences whatsoever,” he said.
At the time, McConnell said nothing. Instead, Texas’ senior senator, John Cornyn, rose to defend the party leader, accusing his fellow Texan of having no support for his allegations.
He also said that McConnell had not needed to make a deal about the bank as its renewal had enough senate support.
After the Sunday session, senator Orrin Hatch said he had been shocked by Cruz’s uncomely display of political ambition.
A few days after the outburst, Huffington Post reported that McConnell had in the meantime deliberately reduced the size of the conference committee for the national defense authorization act, leaving Cruz standing in the hallway when the group began its meeting.
Conference committees are comprised of senators and members of the house of representatives who hammer out their chambers’ differences in a bill.
Cruz is a member of the senate’s armed-services committee that is working on the national-defense legislation. Normally, every member of that committee would automatically be a member of the conference committee.
Congressman Mac Thornberry of Clarendon has a seat on the defense-act conference committee, which also includes armed-services-committee chairman senator John McCain.
Cruz has been criticized for months with allegations that he has not attended armed-services committee meetings in order to focus on his presidential bid. Nonetheless, he has sponsored several defense-act amendments, one of which would let military officers become more involved in renewable-energy assessments at defense sites.
Other Cruz amendments call for an increase in the number of reports on Iranian and China cyber tactics and a study of the creation of a space-based military defense system. The senator has
also co-sponsored several other amendments.
McConnell’s reported retaliation comes on the heels of a Cruz-led battle to disrupt systems he says supports corporate welfare and Washington cronyism.
The Export-Import Bank is among those targets. Reports state that Texas business leader David Koch is pushing Cruz’s efforts to kill the bank, which provides loans to foreign customers who want to buy US goods.
Ex-Im Bank was established in 1934 and has existed as an independent institution since 1945. Its renewal legislation was attached as an amendment to the federal highway bill, which was approved in a 63-54 senate vote
Ironically, McConnell, Hatch and Cornyn all voted with Cruz against Ex-Im Bank’s renewal amendment, but it passed 64-29.