House Republican Slams Cruz, Lee for Making Members 'Punching Bags'
A Tea Party congressman accused his colleagues in the Senate of browbeating members in the House over a government shutdown and then giving up the fight in the upper chamber.
"All summer long as these ads have been running, as they've been holding town halls and raising money, we've kept a lid on our anger in the House as we were the punching bag and bullied by some of these Senate conservatives," Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) said this morning on MSNBC.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have been using a PR campaign to target members who haven't signed their pledge to vote against any budget resolution that includes funding for Obamacare.
"And so, now with the C.R. vote that's gonna come today, we are gonna give them exactly what they've asked for: the opportunity to fight in the Senate on defunding Obamacare. And you saw this explode with anger publicly, when they stood up and started waving the white flag, saying, 'We're not going fight here. We're gonna surrender. We can't win,'" Duffy continued.
"This week what we did is, we came out with our strategy that we were going to vote on the C.R. to defund Obamacare, give Ted Cruz and others what they wanted. Several hours later, he sent out a press release while we were on the floor voting, saying that, 'We can't really hold the Senate. We're not going to filibuster. We're not going fight.'"
Duffy said in the House coat room "there was so much anger, so much frustration because again we've been abused by these guys for so long."
"Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said in a statement on Wednesday. "At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people."
Congressional aides have been using sharper language than Duffy, accusing Cruz of being in it for the showmanship and trying to fundraise off the beating down of other Republicans. Right now Cruz is offering supporters a pocket Constitution "signed by Ted" for a $500 donation and a "personalized pocket Constitution" for $1,000.
"And what I see happening now is people coming out and calling them out for the hypocrisy of these big, tough conservatives who know how to fight but will never get in the ring," Duffy said. "They can hold a filibuster in the Senate if they want but, they can't hold the Senate conservatives together. And that's -- they keep trying to put this fight in the House. They can hold the Senate and have this fight as long as they want, but they're not willing to do it."
He added, "A lot of us do not want to shut down the government, but we think we can engage in a fight here where we have a solution that's negotiated where both sides can win."
"America doesn't like Obamacare right now. They're confused by it. They don't want it, as a majority of American voters. And so, we think we have an opportunity, maybe not to defund it, but we may get the president to agree to delay in Obamacare. Maybe he'll agree to an opt-out for state strategy that we'll offer him," Duffy continued. "But I think there's enough play here with Obamacare and some form of delay where we could all be winners. And, frankly, with the problems with the Obamacare roll-out, I think the president might, you know, go 'oh my God, these guys twisted my arm so hard. All right, I'll agree a delay for a year.'"