Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the weekend drama over the “cromnibus” appropriations bill and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) failed point of order revealed a “huge” chasm in the GOP.
The $1.1 trillion bill passed in the Senate 56-40 on Saturday night. Between the cloture vote and the final cromnibus vote, Cruz tried to shoot down the bill with a constitutional point of order related to the funding of Obama’s immigration orders. That was firmly rebuked on a 22-74 vote.
Schumer told CNN yesterday that the biggest news of the night was “the open fight between Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz on the — there are huge differences in the Republican Party.”
“On the floor of the Senate, we saw the soul of the Republican Party being debated,” he said. “Ted Cruz was in the well pushing his so-called constitutional point of order, which risks shutting down the government. Five feet away from him was Mitch McConnell imploring senators to vote the other way. And the vote, unfortunately, was about 50/50 on the Republican side.”
“And so that makes me worry a great deal, because if, after the terrible, terrible brickbats Republicans took when they shut down the government a few years ago, half the Republican senators are still willing to risk it again, despite the fact that their leader went against it, I’m worried about the next two years.”
Schumer predicted “it’s going to get worse” in the 114th Congress because “you have the presidential candidates in the Senate pulling things to the right” — a reference to Cruz and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). “We want to work with the Republicans to help the middle class, but I’m worried the Tea Party is going to pull them much too far over.”
Schumer added that the liberals splitting off in the “Warren wing” — senators and potential presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against the cromnibus — isn’t the same issue that the GOPs are facing.
“I think that the differences between — among Democrats are small compared to the huge chasm of Republicans. On the fundamental issues that face us, the economic issues that we need to address to get the middle class moving again, to get middle-class incomes going again, there’s amazing unity on the Democratic side, from Elizabeth Warren, through Hillary Clinton, all the way to Joe Manchin and some of the more conservatives,” he said.
“You look like — on issues like minimum wage, and equal pay, and infrastructure construction, helping people pay for college, the Democratic Party is unified. And if we put together a strong economic message aimed at the middle class, not only will it unify our party, as the Republicans are truly divided, but we can actually, actually do really well in 2016.”
The “soul of the Democratic Party,” Schumer added, is “economic issues.”
“And I think, on economic issues, we are united. And Elizabeth Warren is — even if people don’t agree with her, she’s constructive. She’s not like Ted Cruz and say, shut down the government or don’t fund things if I don’t get my way. She’s working hard to move things in her direction. And that’s a good thing,” the senator said.
“Ted Cruz, on the other hand, he — people say he’s a great political mover and shaker. He made huge mistakes yesterday. Ted Cruz misfired. He helped us get nominees that Republicans didn’t want. He embarrassed Mitch McConnell, who had gone home Friday night and said, see you on Monday. And he got Republicans publicly for the first time talking against him. So I think comparing the two wings of the party is like night and day.”