In a sign of the increasingly fractious and dysfunctional nature of the Republican Party, a verbal sparring match took place on the floor Thursday between Republicans Bob Corker of Tennessee, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. While the three men conducted their back-and-forth in the formal, cordial language of the U.S. Senate, there was no mistaking the nature of their conversation. It wasn't a friendly chat.
“The reason you don’t want to send a bill over to the House, who could possibly put in place some very good policies for us here, is that you want the American people and the outside groups that you’ve been in contact with to be able to watch us tomorrow,” Corker said to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), two Tea Party-affiliated lawmakers.
Corker accused Cruz and Lee of playing to the cameras after Lee balked at a request to accelerate the process for considering a stopgap spending bill that also would defund ObamaCare.
Cruz and Lee objected to ending debate on the bill because it would allow Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to strip the ObamaCare language with a simple majority vote.
Corker argued for holding the vote Thursday evening so that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would have more time to respond to the Senate action. Boehner said earlier in the day that the House would not accept a government funding resolution without language defunding the Affordable Care Act.
“Is it more important to the senator from Texas and the senator from Utah that the people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important to us that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint and actually have a body that has a majority of Republican to be able to react and send back something of good policy?” Corker said.
You can watch the whole exchange on C-SPAN here.