Updated 10:29 a.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused his own majority leader of effectively lying to fellow senators about his intentions Friday in a floor speech that could have serious repercussions.
"The majority leader looked me in the eye, and looked 54 Republicans in the eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie. And I voted based on those assurances that he made to each and every single one of us," the GOP presidential candidate said. "What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over and over again was a simple lie."
Cruz was charging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with misleading senators and others about there not being a deal to provide for reviving the Export-Import Bank.
"If you or I cannot trust what the majority leader tells us, that will have consequences on other legislation as well on how this institution operates," Cruz said. "There are hosts of amendments that the American people are focused on. Things like defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome video. The majority leader doesn't want to vote on that."
Cruz blasted McConnell for using the procedural tactic known as filling the amendment tree that was used frequently by then-Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to preclude the offering of unwanted amendments.
The first amendment the Senate will consider on the highway bill is a proposal by McConnell to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act that's sure to fall short of the 60 votes needed to advance.
But after that, McConnell has lined up an amendment from Illinois Republican Mark S. Kirk to revive the Export-Import Bank, without allowing further amendments to that.
Filing cloture to limit debate on both the Obamacare repeal and the Export-Import Bank measure during Friday morning's session likely sets up stacked cloture votes Sunday, with the health care amendment falling short of the 60 votes to advance, and the Kirk amendment getting over that hurdle.
With senators not expecting votes until at least Sunday, many were seen quickly leaving the Capitol building and hitting the road after casting the Friday vote to proceed to the vehicle for the must-pass transportation measure.
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