Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said on Tuesday that Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., owes fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas an apology for dubbing him a “schoolyard bully,” The Hill reports
“When you accuse a colleague of being a schoolyard bully, you certainly don’t mean it as a compliment,” Lee said.
“Sometimes in a moment of weakness we say things that we meant to say, but shouldn’t have," he said.
"If in fact the majority leader slipped and said something he didn’t mean to say . . . then I invite him to come forward and I’m confident that my friend — the junior senator from Texas will promptly and frankly accept his apology,” predicted Lee.
“Sometimes people say things that they regret, but that's what apologies are for.”
On Monday, Cruz objected when Reid asked for unanimous consent to form a conference committee on the House and Senate budgets.
Cruz said he would support such a move if the subsequent conference report does not include tax increases or raise the debt ceiling.
Cruz said such a guarantee was necessary because the conference report could be passed through reconciliation, requiring a simple majority.
“The majority leader could have claimed that he had no intention to undermine the protections of the minority . . . but in a refreshing display of candor, he did not do so,” Cruz said Tuesday.
“Let me be explicit — we had no objection to proceeding to conference if the leader is willing to not use it as a backdoor to raise the debt ceiling.”
Cruz said Reid called him a bully because he pointed out that Reid was trying to do an end-run around GOP objections.
“For reasons unknown, the majority leader deemed my saying so out loud as somehow bullying,” Cruz said.
“Shining light on our substantive disagreements is not bullying . . . All of us should exercise candor,” he explained.
Reid said Cruz was determined to hold up the process because he’s on the losing side of the budget debate.
“My friend from Texas is like a schoolyard bully,” Reid said Monday evening.
“He pushes everybody around and is losing, and instead of playing the game according to the rules, he not only takes the ball home with him, but he changes the rules that way no one wins except the bully who tries to indicate to people that he has won.”
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