Cruz suggested a piecemeal approach to funding the federal government budget, rather than through the extraordinary “omnibus continuing resolution” that has brought a congressional deadlock between the GOP-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“I think we ought to start passing continuing resolutions narrowly focused on each of the things the President listed,” Cruz told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer September 30, “We should pick the top, the critical priorities, the areas where — if the Democrats force a shutdown — the areas there will be the most pain, and let's address that. Let's take them off the table.”
Indeed, that very day Congress passed a bill to fund the uniformed military services, which President Obama pledged to sign. And the House is pursuing passage of five other smaller appropriations bills to fund programs such as national parks, veterans benefits, and National Guard pay.
Despite promises by the White House and Senate leaders to kill the bills, the Cruz strategy has changed the nature of the shutdown debate in Washington. “This whole Congress has been on Cruz control for the last two or three weeks,” Massachusetts Democrat Marty Meehan complained to the Los Angeles Times October 1. The House GOP leadership has adopted the Cruz strategy aggressively. “We are going to take every issue that is out there that we have agreement on, and put it on the floor,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said at a news conference on the second day of the government shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) labeled Cruz's idea “just another wacky idea by the Tea Party-driven Republicans,” promising to kill the bills. “We can’t and we won’t be forced to choose between parks and cancer research or disease control or highway safety or the FBI,” Reid said. “This is not serious. The government’s shut down. If they think they’re going to come and nit-pick us on this, it won’t work.”
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Photo of Sen. Ted Cruz: AP Images