Cruz mocks Reid’s ‘schoolyard bully’ criticism

The escalating war of words between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) showed no signs of ceasing Tuesday afternoon.

Sen. Ted Cruz spoke during a press conference last month before the Senate was to vote on gun legislation. (EPA/JIM LO SCALZO)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (EPA/JIM LO SCALZO)

Following two days of Reid criticizing Cruz on the Senate floor -- first calling him a "schoolyard bully" and then referring to him as the "very junior senator" from Texas -- Cruz took to the floor Tuesday afternoon to hit back at Reid. Cruz said he is simply arguing for regular budget procedure and to avoid the kind of maneuvering used to pass President Obama's health care law.

"For reasons unknown, the majority leader deemed my saying so out loud as somehow, quote, 'bullying.'" Cruz said, according to a transcript. "Speaking the truth, shining light on substantive disagreements of our elected representatives is not bullying. It is the responsibility of each of us."

Cruz also praised Reid for being honest about his intention to use a "back-door" method for passing a budget using a 50-vote threshold rather than 60 votes.

"It is the responsibility of each of us. It is what we were elected to do. All of us should speak the truth and do so in candor," Cruz said. "All of us should work together to solve the crushing economic and fiscal challenges in this country. All of us should exercise candor, and I commend the majority leader and thank him for his willingness to do so.”

Reid has criticized Cruz for his procedural tactics during the current budget debate, in which Cruz has fought against bringing the budget to a conference committee between the House and Senate. Cruz believes that process Reid favors would favor Democrats.

Reid said Monday: "My friend from Texas is like the schoolyard bully. 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 changes the rules. That way, no one wins."

This post was updated at 9:06 p.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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