Cruz Details Senate Strategy to Defund Obamacare

by Eliana Johnson

Senator Ted Cruz, who was the target of much GOP ire last week for putting the onus on House Republicans to defund the president’s signature law, on Sunday detailed how the upper chamber will proceed now that the House has passed a continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare.

They key question, he said, is whether Senate majority leader Harry Reid will require amendments to the House bill to be subject to a 60-vote threshold. “We will not allow you to add the funding back for Obamacare with just 51 votes,” Cruz told Fox News’s Chris Wallace.

As both Rich and Bob have noted, the Texas senator and his colleague Mike Lee have long said they are relying on a popular uprising to force senators’ hands. Cruz alluded to that on Sunday. After the House vote, and with a 60-vote threshold in the Senate, he suggested that calls from constituents may begin to flood into the offices of red-state Democrats like Arkansas’s Mark Pryor and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu. That, he said, “changes the calculus entirely,” and may push some Democrats to vote in favor of the measure to defund. That also remains to be seen.

But Cruz made it clear on Sunday as he has before: “The House is the only body where the Republicans have a majority, so the House has to lead on this.” This week, however, the bill heads to the Senate and we will see how much support Cruz and Lee can corral for the initiative they have led.