On the Senate floor this morning, Sen. Ted Cruz accused Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of his own party, of lying to him and other Republican senators about TPA and the vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Cruz’s broadside against McConnell today is considered by some to be an extraordinary deviation from the norms of Senate behavior.
“Today is a sad day for this institution,” Cruz began. “The Senate operates based on trust. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we have to be able to trust that when a Senator says something, he or she – even if we disagree on substance – that we don’t lie to each other. What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing.”
He went on to describe the preceding discussions with the Senate leader that led to his disappointment. According to Cruz, McConnell, R-Ky., had made assurances that there was no deal to allow a vote to renew the federal Export-Import Bank, the federal agency that conservatives would like to end.
Cruz said he had asked McConnell at a lunch with 54 other senators, “what was the deal that was just cut on TPA and was there a deal on the Import Export bank?”
Cruz claims that the majority leader was “visibly angry” that he would ask such a question, saying, “there is no deal, there is no deal, there is no deal. Like St. Peter he repeated it three times.”
Cruz delivered his remarks moments after McConnell had lined up a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
“It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office, I told my staff the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie, and I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us,” Cruz said.
“What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie.”
The majority leader was not on the Senate floor when Cruz issued his attack, and ignored reporters who tried to ask him about it in the Capitol’s hallways. A spokesman said McConnell would have no response.”
Cruz went on to make the charge that the Senate under Republican leadership is no different from when Democrats ran the show, comparing McConnell’s tactics to Reid’s.
“Now the Republican leader is behaving like the senior senator from Nevada,” Cruz complained. He also derided an announcement from McConnell that the Senate will vote Sunday to repeal Obama’s health care law, calling it “an empty show vote” and “exercise in meaningless political theater” because the legislation will inevitably fail to get the 60 votes needed to advance.
“We keep winning elections and then we keep getting leaders who don’t do anything they promised,” Cruz said.
According to the AP, the Senate’s historian, Betty K. Koed, said it’s not necessarily a breach of Senate rules to call another senator a liar, “but pointed to rules cautioning against talking ill of other members or imputing unbecoming conduct or motives.”