Sens. Jeff Sessions , left, and Orrin Hatch, right, during last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on comprehensive immigration legislation.
Cruz, a freshman from Texas, has in a few short months established a reputation as a member who is not afraid to stir the pot in committee hearings. He has attacked President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees during confirmation hearings. And he once so enraged Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California during a Judiciary session on her assault weapons ban that she lashed out at him for what she deemed a condescending tone: “I’m not a sixth-grader,” she said at the March committee meeting. “I’m reasonably well-educated, and thank you for the lecture.”
Also of note is that his in-state colleague, No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn, has voted with Cruz on multiple occasions, even when it’s been highly unpopular. Cruz and Cornyn were two of only three senators to vote against the confirmation of John Kerry to secretary of State. Cruz also was one of the most outspoken opponents of a bipartisan bill to expand the nation’s background checks last week.
Lee, swept into Congress by the GOP wave of 2010, is one of the Senate’s tea party stalwarts. Though there are at least two hearings in the coming weeks, Lee’s remarks on April 19 were less adversarial in tone, and he focused primarily on concerns with procedure.
“There is no way that we as a committee could possibly be prepared this morning to debate more than a fraction of this massive bill. It would be impossible to have a meaningful discussion with rigorous analysis under such circumstances,” Lee said. “Witnesses were asked to submit written testimony before they could have conceivably read the entire bill. And even with the help of committed staff who have worked through the night in preparation, none of us can honestly say that we understand each provision or how all the pieces fit together. Not even close.”
Republicans are expected to use a process-based argument against the bill, which is likely why Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the gang of eight and a heralded conservative of the class of 2010, has pushed for multiple hearings and regular order in considering the legislation.