Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Cruz Does Boehner No Favors

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Cruz, above, in recent weeks has undermined Boehner’s approach on both immigration and the debt limit.

After championing the Affordable Care Act defunding strategy that led to the government shutdown in October, Sen. Ted Cruz continues to do Speaker John A. Boehner no favors — and some of Boehner’s allies think the tea party Texan should mind his own business.

Cruz in recent weeks has undermined Boehner’s approach on both immigration and the debt limit — the two biggest issues the Ohio Republican has been trying to navigate through his conference.

As Boehner unveiled his leadership team’s immigration principles at the House GOP’s retreat two weeks ago, Cruz and his staff simultaneously torched the push for an immigration overhaul this year on Twitter and in interviews, immediately playing the “amnesty” card.

“Anyone pushing that right now should go ahead and put a Harry Reid for majority leader bumper sticker on the back of their car,” Cruz told reporters early last week. It’s a line he’s used with some frequency in recent days, and the implicit target is Boehner, with whom Cruz has frequently sparred indirectly, if not directly, on the party’s strategy.

A few days later, amid fierce pushback in his conference, Boehner was downplaying the idea that the House would act this year on leadership’s immigration principles, which would offer a pathway to legalization for illegal immigrants. (Boehner blamed a lack of trust in President Barack Obama to carry out the law.)

Cruz has also pushed repeatedly for another round of debt limit brinkmanship, even as the speaker looks to defuse the potential for another shutdown showdown ahead of the elections.

After speaking at a Heritage Action for America policy conference Monday, Cruz said the debt limit should not be raised without controlling spending.

“We’ll have to wait and see the details,” Cruz said of the House’s plans. “But if you ask anybody outside of Washington, D.C., should we raise the debt ceiling yet again, while doing nothing to address the out-of-control spending in Washington, the virtually unanimous answer from Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians — from everybody out of Washington, D.C. — is of course not.

“ . . .  Our national debt has gone from $10 trillion to over $17 trillion in five short years and yet President Obama is asking Congress to give him a blank check; to allow him to keep maxing out the credit card without doing anything to fix the problem. I think that’s irresponsible. I hope the House doesn’t go down that road.”

Cruz made similar comments a week ago, prompting several Boehner allies to dismiss his criticism of and advice for House leadership.

Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, said it’s ironic Cruz is giving advice to House Republicans now, given his ill-fated push to defund the Affordable Care Act.

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