GOP congressman says Ted Cruz doesn’t live in “political reality”

Rep. Scott Rigell says Cruz and other fellow GOPers are living in their own world

Topics: GOP Civil War, Ted Cruz, Scott Rigell, The Hill, Government shutdown,

GOP congressman says Ted Cruz doesn't live in "political reality"Ted Cruz (Credit: Reuters/Joe Mitchell)

Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia, a relatively moderate Republican from a district that went for Obama in the 2012 election, says many of his fellow GOPers — including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — don’t live in “political reality,” according to a report from the Hill.

Rigell has a history of going against the grain. During the government shutdown, he advocated for a “clean” funding bill, and he has previously bucked his own party on issues ranging from gun safety reform to gerrymandering to military intervention into Syria. He also supports some form of  increased revenues as part of a comprehensive deal to reduce America’s long-term debt.

When asked by the Hill whether Ted Cruz lived in political reality, Rigell’s answer was simple: “No.”

More from the Hill:

While some lawmakers are more optimistic about the fiscal battles looming early next year, Rigell is not among them.

He expresses disappointment with his party, but the thin legislator with salt-and-pepper hair keeps his tone measured.

“We can pass a bill with 233 Republicans, thump ourselves on the chest … but nothing gets done,” Rigell said. “Going on without a solution in this Congress is not an option … time is working against us.”

“I’ve used leverage in my business — it’s almost like a rattlesnake. You got to hold it just [so],” he continued. “It can get away from you. We’re at risk as a country because of the debt that we have.”

The longtime Ford dealership owner said there must be a clear end game in sight — and said he couldn’t see it on a government shutdown strategy over defunding ObamaCare.

“I’ve got the fire in the belly to fight … but there needs to be a viable path, and one that can be clearly articulated in our strategy — this is what was unclear to me,” the former Marine reservist explained of his decision to break from fellow Republicans.

Elias Isquith
Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

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