OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has called for Republican Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell to step aside and allow someone else to lead Senate Republicans and McConnell has hit back.
The Texas senator was speaking at a press conference as it appears the bipartisan border deal is doomed to fail in the Senate and House of Representatives when he was asked if it was time for new leadership.
“I think it is,” Cruz responded as he pointed out that all the GOP senators standing with him wanted McConnell to step aside. “I think a Republican leader should actually lead this conference and should advance the priorities of Republicans.”
Cruz was joined by Sens. Rick Scott (R-FL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R-WI), JD Vance (R-OH), Roger Marshall (R-KN) and Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
Later, McConnell was asked to respond to Cruz’s comments, to which he said: “I think we can all agree that Sen. Cruz is not a fan.”
It came after, hours before, Senate Republicans were heard shouting at each other in a closed door meeting.
Fox News Capitol Hill reporter Aishah Hasnie said that shouting could be heard behind closed doors and that Republican Sen. James Lankford is likely to vote against the legislation he assisted in crafting to preserve Party unity, when she appeared on the Fox News show, “America’s Newsroom” on Tuesday.
“While the past 24 hours have been nothing short of stunning here, we knew that this border deal was dead on arrival in the House, but it’s not likely to make it out of the Senate at all. Republicans are poised to take a procedural vote on this tomorrow, and it’s likely at the author of this big bipartisan deal. The Republican author is likely to vote no on it as well, as well as a Senate majority leader or minority leader,” the reporter said.
“Senate Republicans met last night at a closed door meeting, which got so heated, Dana, at times that myself and other reporters could actually hear screaming coming from inside the room. When leader Mitch McConnell emerged from the room, he told me that he had a great discussion and that the conference will keep on talking,” she said.
“Now, Senator James Lankford, the lead GOP negotiator on this, told me it is clear that the majority of the conference is not ready to vote on this thing, but that there is still interest in adding real amendments and shaping into something, perhaps, that they can stomach. He insists, though, the bill is not dead, but it looks like he may also vote no tomorrow, just for the sake of party unity. Democrats are already lashing out on that lead,” the reporter said.
“Democrat negotiator Chris Murphy tweeting this honestly, this is so embarrassing. You told us you wanted a bipartisan border fix. You appointed the Republican negotiator. We got a deal. Stop the drama. Now, there were three senators on the left that had also rejected the bill. But the goal really here, Dana, was to get half of each conference on board. That is not going to happen. Leader Schumer is expected to go on and put this on the floor for a cloture vote tomorrow. Again, that’s expected to fail. As all eyes now shift to the House where we are watching this impeachment in a few hours,” she said.
Republicans are tearing into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for a Democrat-led $118 billion border security bill that was unveiled on Sunday.
In addition to allowing the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily close the border to the majority of migrants if there are an average of more than 5,000 attempts to cross over seven days, the proposal would restructure the asylum system with quicker and more stringent enforcement.
Along with humanitarian aid for civilians impacted by the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, it also includes billions in aid for Israel, Ukraine, and other allies.