Updated 10:30 p.m. | The frustration between House Republicans and GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah spilled onto Twitter Wednesday night, when members and staff began criticizing the duo — especially Cruz — for giving up on defunding Obamacare before the House has even sent a bill to the Senate.
Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., took this 132-character swipe.
House agrees to send #CR to Senate that defunds Obamacare. @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee refuse to fight. Wave white flag and surrender.
— Sean Duffy (@RepSeanDuffy) September 18, 2013
Cruz and Lee have been constant critics of House Republicans, needling the House GOP to defund Obamacare in the continuing resolution that is aimed at keeping the government from shutting down.
But when House Republicans granted them their wish, giving Cruz and Lee their chance to take the fight to Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the Democratic Senate, Cruz deflected the battle back to the House.
"Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so," Cruz said in a statement. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
As one senior House GOP aide told CQ Roll Call last week, "I don't know if you noticed, but House Republicans fight Obamacare every damn day."
On Wednesday, upon announcing the plan to defund Obamacre in the CR — a plan that Cruz has pushed for daily — Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, referred to the more than 40 times the House has defunded, delayed, repealed or replaced portions of Obamacare.
“The fight over here has been won,” Boehner told reporters. “It’s time for the Senate to have that fight.”
Indeed, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel was sending around his own quote Wednesday night in response to the Cruz statement.
“We trust Republicans in the Senate will put up a fight worthy of the challenge that Obamacare poses,” Steel said.
CNN's Dana Bash tweeted that a House GOP leadership aide told her Texas state Sen. "Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz." And Fox News' Chad Pergram posted this:
Hse R to some Senate R's saying Reid has votes on Obamacare. "It's time to put on the big boy pants," said 1 GOP Hse mbr.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 18, 2013
Other members didn't mention Cruz by name but parroted Boehner. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., posted:
House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court.
— Tom Price (@RepTomPrice) September 18, 2013
Cruz's aides parried back, however. Josh Perry, the Texas Republican's new media director, tweeted:
Friendly reminder: it is because of leadership of @SenTedCruz & @SenMikeLee that the House is going forward w/ #DefundObamacare CR at all...
— Josh Perry (@MrJoshPerry) September 18, 2013
Regardless of the dustup, Cruz is probably right about the state of play in the Senate; Reid likely does have the votes to strip the Obamacare defund language.