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Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in Politics | 3 comments

Cruz already working against any Senate bipartisan shutdown debt default deal

It sounds as if Texas Sen. Tex Cruz, now the de facto leader of Tea Partiers in Congress and in the House, is already working to scuttle the Senate bipartisan deal that has not been hammered out or announced yet. This story suggests that unless House Speaker John Boehner allows a Senate proposal to the floor to a vote where Democrats can vote with more moderate Republicans the Senate deal will be rejected. Cruz’s role?

Sen. Ted Cruz met with roughly 15 to 20 House Republicans for around two hours late Monday night at the Capitol Hill watering hole Tortilla Coast.

The group appeared to be talking strategy about how they should respond to a tentative Senate deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling without addressing Obamacare in a substantive way, according to sources who witnessed the gathering. The Texas Republican senator and many of the House Republicans in attendance had insisted on including amendments aimed at dismantling Obamacare in the continuing resolution that was intended to avert the current shutdown.

Sources said the House Republicans meeting in the basement of Tortilla Coast with Cruz were some of the most conservative in the House: Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho, Steve Southerland II of Florida, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Justin Amash of Michigan.

The group is a collection of members who have often given leadership headaches in recent years by opposing both compromise measures as well as packages crafted by fellow Republicans. And, it seems, leadership unwittingly became aware of the meetup.

While the dinner meeting was held in a private basement room, the group was spotted by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who was dining with some other members, including Gregg Harper, R-Miss. McCarthy is a regular at the Capitol Hill restaurant, and a source said he seemed particularly interested in what the group was up to.

Right now it sounds as if in the end a)the United States will go into default, b)Fox News and conservative websites will say it’s no big deal or down play negative news, c)the White House will have to continue pondering what the the impact will be on our democracy if major concessions are made to allowing the use of hurting the U.S. economy to extract political agenda items.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, writing in The Daily Beast, notes that no matter what happens on this particular episode, the longer-term crisis is not over: our politics has now fundamentally shifted:

Like the atomic bomb in a James Bond movie, the debt ceiling crisis seems to have been averted with only minutes remaining on the countdown clock. A lot could still go wrong. But sighs of relief are being heard from Congress and from Wall Street. The S&P 500 has gained more than 2 percent over the past week.

We can all welcome the last-minute decision by Republicans in Congress to halt a confrontation that threatened to blow up the world financial system. It’s important to understand, however, that even if all goes as agreed—even if the debt ceiling is raised and the government shutdown ended—this crisis has nowhere near ended.

The crisis will be a long time ending because it was a long time starting. The crisis did not start 15 days ago. It did not start with Sen. Ted Cruz. And it won’t be ended by a back-room deal.

Just some of the bad news he lays out for us:

The American system has historically been governed by unwritten norms every bit as important as the formal rules of the House and Senate. Over the past generation—and especially since 2009—those norms have faded away, replaced by a new and more ruthless style of politics.

The political scientists Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann draw attention to one indicator of the new ruthlessness in their important book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. The minority party in the Senate has the power to delay approval of a president’s appointees. Historically, minority parties have hesitated to use that power. Sixteen months into the George W. Bush administration, for example, on Memorial Day 2002, only 13 executive-branch nominations awaited confirmation by the Senate. At the corresponding moment in the Obama administration, Memorial Day 2010, 108 nominees awaited action by the Senate

Why are American politicians playing so rough? We have moved into an era of scarcity…
He explains why this has an impact and then this:The crisis in American politics won’t end until the larger crisis in American life finds some resolution. When the economy grows faster and Americans feel more optimism about their future; when Medicare costs are put on a more sustainable footing so retirees have less to worry about; when the pace of demographic change slows so that economic disagreement does not also become ethnic conflict; when the tax burden is more broadly shared so that high earners don’t feel that all society’s costs fall to them—then things will quiet down. None of those things look likely to happen soon, so brace yourself for more crises ahead.

But we could see a major crisis the next few days — if Cruz gets his way.

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