Getting what you asked for isn’t the same thing as getting what you want.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) learned that lesson this past week after House Republicans decided to give him exactly what he has been asking for since he came to Congress in January: a chance to defund President Obama’s health-care law.
Led by Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), House Republicans passed a bill Friday that would keep the government funded beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, but only if the money to pay for Obamacare were stripped from the budget.
Before the vote, Cruz sought to play the expectations game when it came to what he could — or, more accurately, couldn’t — do in the Senate.
“Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in a statement Thursday. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
Cruz’s message to House Republicans: Don’t expect me to do anything, and if you cave on a continuing resolution at the last minute, I will lay the blame at your feet.
Boehner, not terribly amused by Cruz’s comments, promised that after a “big victory” in the House, “this fight will move over to the Senate — where it belongs. I expect my Senate colleagues to be up for the battle.”
The idea that Cruz could rally 40 votes to keep the measure stripping Obamacare from the budget bill is already being pooh-poohed by Senate Republicans. He’d need that number to keep the bill from a final vote. Cruz, then, finds himself all in with a weak hand.
Ted Cruz, for watching your bluff get called by your own side, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at firstname.lastname@example.org.