This is another post debunking a Rubio fan-boi’s list of so-called “blatant lies” by Ted Cruz — “lies” that turn out to be true on closer inspection. Today’s “lie” that isn’t a lie illustrates something important about Ted Cruz’s character. Namely, he seeks accountability, and wants to eliminate show votes that make Senators look like they’re against things like funding Planned Parenthood, without expending any real capital to defeat them. Here is the alleged “lie” by Cruz:
6) Cruz claimed that Rubio did not want to use Congress’s “constitutional authority to defund Planned Parenthood,” thereby trying to suggest Rubio was weak on the issue.
In reality, Rubio has actually voted for and supported spending bills that defunded Planned Parenthood and standalone bills that defunded the organization. This was such a blatantly dishonest attack that the most prominent pro-life organization in the country, the National Right to Life, actually called out Cruz for his “inaccurate and misleading” attacks:
“Marco Rubio voted to defund Planned Parenthood before Ted Cruz ever got to the U.S. Senate. Since Ted Cruz joined the U.S. Senate, both he and Sen. Rubio have voted the same on every roll call that National Right to Life regards as pertinent to defunding Planned Parenthood”
This defense ignores the evidence that Rubio could have done much more. The Hill reports: “Rubio refused to back Cruz’s plan to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding during budget deliberations last year.” That, of course, is a tendentious and in fact ridiculous way of phrasing Cruz’s plan. The notion that Barack Obama would veto a spending bill that funded every aspect of government, but declined to give money to a private organization that conducts abortions and sells baby parts, is preposterous. And if that actually happened, the people of America would rise up against Obama.
But the truth is that, while such actions are fully within Congress’s authority, folks like Rubio are too a skeered to exercise their constitutional authority, lest the media portray them (as the Hill did in the link above) as wild-eyed maniacs looking to shut down the governments!!!!1!11!!! And so we got stories like this one from Politico (cached link; no links for bullies):
Many of the Republican candidates on the debate stage Wednesday night joined in a full-throated endorsement of Ted Cruz’s damn-the-torpedoes strategy to defund Planned Parenthood, even if it means shutting down the federal government.
But two candidates who’ll soon be casting votes on the matter were noticeably silent: Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.
“I think they’re just seeing the results of the last time we tried that,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the party’s nominee in 2008, said of a strategy similar to what Republicans tried with defunding Obamacare in 2013. “Last time was a disaster.
The issue was the difference between show votes and real votes. Exposing that difference is something Cruz has repeatedly done in his time in the Senate. The Senate has a way of conducting business where the vote that will actually determine whether something happens is procedural. Then, after voting the way leadership wants them to vote on procedure, a Senator is generally given a show vote that makes them look like they are against something that they could have stopped but didn’t. Politico explained the showdown that was coming, and the political difficulties inherent in that showdown for Rubio:
If the Senate takes up a spending bill this month that defunds Planned Parenthood as GOP leaders now plan, the three senators will go likely go on record in favor of it. Paul has held several Planned Parenthood events on the Capitol grounds and Rubio has unequivocally said he wants to gut the organization’s federal backing.
But there likely will be subsequent votes, right before the deadline, that will actually decide whether a shutdown happens. How Rubio and Paul vote then, and what they say in the lead-up to it, could make all the difference in whether or how they’d be associated with a federal closure that’s sure to play better with conservative activists than general election voters.
Rubio and Paul have kept their distance from Cruz so far. Even though both Rubio and Paul have typically opposed short-term spending bills in the past that funded Planned Parenthood, both men have refused to sign a letter from Cruz to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowing to oppose any spending bill that funds the organization.
Last September, Mitch McConnell used his leadership prerogatives to try to shut down Cruz’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood — and to shield Senators from accountability for their vote to allow the “clean” bill to go forward:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)97% is excoriating the Republican leadership in the House and Senate for failing to “lift a finger to defend life” by eliminating taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. Cruz’s speech on the Senate floor comes as the lawmakers voted, 77-19, to advance a bill to authorize government spending that includes funding for Planned Parenthood.
The 2016 Republican contender attempted to submit an amendment that would “restrict the use of Federal funds for Planned Parenthood Federation of America” as well as those to “implement the nuclear agreement with Iran or for assessed contributions to the United Nations until the President submits the agreement and all related materials to Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)44%, however, “filled the tree” of amendments on this bill to fund the government, preventing any other senators from offering amendments to change the measure, a tactic used on numerous occasions by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)2% when he was the Majority Leader. The strategy would prevent any amendments to bills and keep Reid’s Democrat members from having to be on record for difficult votes.
Cruz’s motion on Monday night was to “table” the “filled amendment tree,” to set it aside in order to make room for his amendment that would both defund Planned Parenthood as well as the Iran deal.
Though normally the Senate would take a recorded vote on such a question, in this case McConnell prevented Cruz from getting enough senators to “second” his request and call for a recorded vote to set aside the amendment tree and make room for Cruz’s amendment. This tactic sets up a proxy vote in that anyone not seconding Cruz’s request is saying he or she does not want a recorded vote on the question of defunding Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal.
With no recorded vote, a voice vote was taken on the issue, and any senators who voiced “no” were also essentially voting against defunding Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal.
So how did Rubio deal with this difficult situation? Roll Call reported that Rubio managed to avoid voting on this:
Among [Senators voting against a “clean” contining resolution] them were presidential candidates Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, while Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina did not vote.
Rubio could have full-throatedly supported Cruz at every step of the way, saying: “If Barack Obama wants to shut down this government because of his need to fund Planned Parenthood, an organization that sells baby parts, let him. I support Ted Cruz’s efforts on this issue 100%.”
Rubio didn’t say that. Instead, he skipped town when the rubber met the road.
Cruz is not a “liar” for pointing this out.