Prominent Republican lobbyist Grover Norquist accused Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) of causing the shuttering of government operations by selling his counterparts in the House a bill of goods he couldn’t provide.
“He said if the House would simply pass the bill with defunding he would force the Senate to act,” Norquist told the Washington Post in an interview published on Wednesday. “He would lead this grass-roots movement that would get Democrats to change their mind. So the House passed it, it went to the Senate, and Ted Cruz said, oh, we don’t have the votes over here. And I can’t find the e-mails or ads targeting Democrats to support it. Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.”
Norquist also criticized Cruz for making the entirety of a continuing resolution funding the government contingent upon opposition of the Affordable Care Act and turning on fellow Republicans who might not fall in line with his specific approach on the issue, regardless of the party as a whole opposing the new law.
“Ted Cruz, from left field, said we have to defund Obamacare permanently in this [resolution],” Norquist complained, adding that Cruz wouldn’t accept other concessions.
“So that got locked in as a principle,” Norquist explained. “And people went out on talk radio and said if you’re not for this you’re a coward, you’re a RINO.”
At the same time, Norquist argued, Democrats were endangered by their opposition to attempts to defund the law, not mentioning that more than 4 million people have already gone online to sign up for the healthcare exchanges that will be available under it. Democratic lawmakers, Norquist alleged, are now trying to prove they are not “clones” of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) or President Barack Obama.
“We have enough votes in the last few days showing these Democrats do what Harry Reid and Barack Obama want and not what North Carolina and Arkansas and Alaska want,” Reid told the Post.