The Big Conversation
As a House Republican debt deal unraveled on Tuesday, attention turned yet again to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
After House GOP leaders failed to muster enough Republican support for a plan that would have reopened the government and lifted the debt ceiling, the spotlight moved to the Senate, where leaders from both parties restarted negotiations to avoid a federal default.
As of late Tuesday night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to have neared a deal that would open the government back up until Jan. 15 and lift the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. A conference committee of Republicans and Democrats would also have to reach a deal on long-term deficit reduction by Dec. 13.
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The fate of such a Senate compromise, however, remains uncertain. Facing a Thursday debt limit deadline, Reid would likely push for an accelerated vote on the measure Wednesday. But as The New York Times notes, the move would require unanimous consent, meaning Cruz or one of his allies could hold up the vote.
"In order to move this quickly tomorrow or as soon as possible thereafter we need the cooperation of members," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told Politico. "If they want to drag their feet, use every objection they can, it’s going to take a few days."
Cruz, for his part, hasn't revealed whether he'll vote to block the Senate deal. "We need to see what the details are," he told Politico earlier this week.
Late Monday, however, he was spotted in Washington meeting with a group of about 15 House Republicans who included some of the chamber's most conservative members. Cruz and one of his allies, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, were also absent from a Republican lunch on Tuesday.
Of Cruz's plans, a spokeswoman said he would "continue working to ensure all Americans receive meaningful relief from Obamacare, that's the goal," according to the San Antonio Express-News.
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• High Court to Hear Texas' Challenge to Climate Change Rules (The Texas Tribune): "The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Texas' challenge of federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like power plants and factories, the court announced Tuesday. But it declined to hear the state's appeals of two other decisions, effectively upholding rules that limit such emissions from vehicles and maintaining the Environmental Protection Agency's assertion that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare."
• Rally at the Alamo Will Call on Texans to Raise Their Rifles High (The New York Times): "Hundreds of armed demonstrators are planning to converge at the Alamo in San Antonio on Saturday to test the limits of the gun laws in one of the most gun-friendly states in the country, by openly carrying their shotguns, assault weapons and other types of rifles in public. Organizers of the rally — a flier declares 'Get your guns & Head to San Antonio' — said they were planning a peaceful event. But the demonstration, intended to both celebrate the state’s gun culture and challenge it, has concerned officials. Amid a heavy police presence, more than 1,000 men and women carrying loaded rifles over their shoulders are expected to assemble at the site of the historic gun battle in one of the busiest sections of downtown."
• Bias-ordinance repeal bid lacks signatures (San Antonio Express-News): "Opponents of San Antonio's nondiscrimination ordinance spread the word at churches and parks about their petition drive to place the policy on a citywide ballot. A few hours before Tuesday's deadline, they informed city officials that effort had fallen short. Pastor Gerald Ripley, a petition leader, estimated the group collected about 20,000 signatures, well below the required 61,046, or 10 percent of eligible voters."
• Rick Perry hits Barbara Boxer 'offensive' remarks (Politico): "Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry lambasted Sen. Barbara Boxer on Tuesday over her comments that Republicans are 'acting like' domestic abusers by shutting down the government. 'That’s not the type of positive, intellectually engaged debate that you want to see on the Senate floor for sure,' Perry said on Fox News’s 'Fox & Friends.' 'I think it’s very offensive to individuals who have worked hard across this country to stop domestic violence,' he continued.
Quote to Note: "I've found that some people, if you say anything other than Ted Cruz is the greatest living senator that America has ever had, they’re mad at you." — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his radio show Tuesday
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