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Cruz Outpaces GOP Rivals by Wielding Gavel

Cruz has outpaced his presidential rivals in subcommittee hearings. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At a time when senators running for president have faced criticism for missing votes, the anti-Washington, anti-leadership Ted Cruz has been quietly productive in at least one quantifiable way: Convening subcommittee hearings.  

The Texas Republican — who has the third lowest vote participation percentage in the Senate, according to CQ Vote Watch — has convened nine hearings as chairman of two subcommittees, outpacing the three other senators running for the Republican presidential nomination. “We’re facing enormous challenges in America," Cruz said in an interview last week. "And as chairman of two subcommittees, I have endeavored to convene hearings addressing those challenges. I made a promise to 27 million Texans that if they elected me I would fight for them each and every day. And that is a promise I take very seriously."  

Ted Cruz Almost Praised Mitch McConnell

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, hopes Congressional Republican leadership allows the Ex-Im Bank to stay dead. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be on the verge of earning praise from one of his biggest critics, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by doing one small thing: Nothing.  

Earlier this month, Export-Import Bank supporters in the House — mostly Democrats and a minority group of Republicans — used the rarely successful discharge petition to secure a future vote on reauthorization. With it appearing to have enough support in the House, McConnell is one of the few things blocking the bank from coming back to life.  The Kentucky Republican's office has said he won't devote floor time to a bill he doesn't support. And unless it survives a conference committee on the highway bill, or some type of legislative jujitsu in the House, Ex-Im Bank reauthorization will die with McConnell holding the smoking gun.