HARLINGEN — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Monday dismissed the idea of a federal government shutdown, saying instead that elected officials had a duty to serve despite disagreements within Congress.
“We were elected to govern, and we’re going to do that. That’s not to say it’s easy,” he said. “There have been a lot of disagreements particularly when it comes to spending, but we’re going to work our way through that.”
Cornyn’s comments come amid speculation over another federal shutdown continues to swirl, with Cornyn's colleague and presidential candidate Ted Cruz at the center of that speculation. Cruz has said for weeks that a shutdown is possible if Congress continued to fund Planned Parenthood.
Cornyn, who is in the Rio Grande Valley meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a delegation of U.S. House members, declined to comment on Cruz’s possible role in a potential shutdown. But Cornyn said defunding the government would adversely affect several groups, including military veterans.
“We can’t let our disagreements threaten [the debate in Congress] or damage our duty to serve groups like our veterans, and we’re not going to let that happen,” he said.
On Saturday, Cruz said President Obama would be solely responsible for a shutdown. “What Barack Obama is doing for Planned Parenthood is radical, it’s extreme, it’s unreasonable,” Cruz said at a rally in Missouri, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
That same day U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., rallied Texas Democrats in Austin by daring Cruz to move forward with a shutdown.
"He wants a fight over Planned Parenthood? My answer is, ‘Bring it on, Ted!’" she said.
Cornyn’s comments on Monday echo what the Senate majority whip said a year ago when asked about the brief Cruz-led shutdown of 2013.
“It didn’t turn out so well,” he said. “What people want is for the government to function and not to throw temper tantrums and say we’re not going to play ball.”
Disclosure: Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.