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With Eye on 2016, Ted Cruz Aims to Pull Senate to the Right

With Eye on 2016, Ted Cruz Aims to Pull Senate to the Right
(Richard W Rodriguez/MCT/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 08 January 2015 03:19 PM

Mitch McConnell has pledged that "regular order" will be restored to the Senate under his leadership, but his biggest obstacle to achieving that goal may not be Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but fellow Republicans, particularly Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

With a potential run for the Republican nomination in 2016 in mind, Cruz has "a vested interest in pulling his colleagues to the right in a highly public manner, one that probably won’t be consistent with making deals with the White House," reports The Wall Street Journal.

Despite receiving criticism for his filibuster of a vote on Obamacare, which many thought was an ill-fated strategy, in December, Cruz objected to passing a $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill because it funded Obama's immigration executive orders. Again, his colleagues complained it was a strategy that failed to achieve conservatives' ends, according to The Huffington Post.

This week, Cruz made it clear that he intends to build his own base of support in the caucus for what he terms "a bold agenda," reports The Hill.

The Texas senator already has met with the incoming freshmen Republicans, some of whom he actively supported in their campaigns, to urge them to keep the promises they made to their constituents. The freshmen class currently comprises more than a fifth of the GOP's 54 seat majority.

"What I have encouraged every one of them to do is to urge all of us to honor our commitments. What I’ve urged every one of them to do is answer questions in January the same way you would have answered them in October on the campaign trail,” Cruz told The Hill.

McConnell also has met with the new members, delivering to them the same message he has stated publicly – Republicans must demonstrate they can lead.

“In every meeting, whether it’s with freshmen or others, McConnell’s message has been consistent. The only way we’re going to be relevant is by getting legislation to the president’s desk. That’s the best card we have,” a GOP senator told The Hill on background.

When asked whether he anticipated experiencing the same kind of opposition from members of the tea party and conservatives that faced Rep. John Boehner in his re-election as Speaker of the House, McConnell told The Lexington Herald-Leader: "I think we're going to be pretty unified over here."

McConnell said that Cruz's opposition to the cromnibus bill did result in some presidential nominations gaining approval, but added "it's a new year and a new majority, and I'm optimistic that we're going to have most everybody heading in the same direction on most of the issues that we care about."

Key to maintaining unity within the caucus could be McConnell's deputy John Cornyn, who happens to be a fellow Texan and serves with Cruz on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where they have worked together on contentious issues like immigration.

“We meet regularly, and obviously we both share the responsibility of representing Texas. There’s more collaboration and more communication than perhaps meets the eye," Cornyn said of his relations with Texas' junior senator in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

The pair met on Wednesday and Cornyn said he pledged to Cruz that they would be "working closely together to try to have the kind of Senate the Founding Fathers envisioned.”

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Mitch McConnell has pledged that "regular order" will be restored to the Senate under his leadership, but his biggest obstacle to achieving that goal may not be Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, but fellow Republicans, particularly Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans
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2015-19-08
Thursday, 08 January 2015 03:19 PM
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