"If Republican leadership actually tried to win, we would vote on one bill after another funding specific parts of the federal government."
That's what Sen. Ted Cruz wrote Wednesday in an opinion piece , but it could have just as easily been a line from this time two years ago, when the federal government shut down.
The Texas Republican presidential candidate wants a reprise of an effort to pass "rifle-shot" appropriation bills to keep smaller pieces of the federal government operating come Oct. 1, without anything providing federal funding for Planned Parenthood. That strategy failed last time in part because the Senate turned back those measures as they were passed by the House.
At the time, Democrats were in the Senate majority, but the dynamic hasn't shifted much because it still requires 60 votes to stop filibuster threats.
"Fund it all, and let Democrats explain why they are filibustering funding for vital services in order to give $500 million to a private organization under criminal investigation," Cruz said of his strategy in the Politico piece Wednesday.
The Senate is set to vote Thursday afternoon to limit debate on a continuing resolution that bars funding for Planned Parenthood, though the vote is certain to fail to attract the 60 votes needed to advance, leaving Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to make another move as the clock ticks toward the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
The endgame is a "clean" CR to keep the government operating, most likely into December.
"When Reagan was president, there were eight partial shutdowns, including six before his historic 1984 re-election. The world didn’t end. But that’s what happens sometimes when a leader fights for his principles," Cruz said. "The alternative — Republican leadership's current strategy—is to surrender on everything and leave Harry Reid as the de facto Leader of the Senate. We can do better."
On Thursday, the Texas senator reiterated his pledge to use all procedural tools to stop funding Planned Parenthood, but he suggested he wouldn't force a weekend session.
"When it comes to fighting to prevent the underlying funding, that does not not necessarily entail disrupting scheduling. Every procedural tool I have used and will continue to use is directed towards the underlying goal of honoring the commitments we made to the men and women who elected us," Cruz said. "And whether the vote is on Saturday or Sunday or Monday or Tuesday, does not have a meaningful difference in terms of our ability to win the vote."
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.