It’s not easy to shock the cynical Washington press corps.
The tweets I saw after this speech on the floor of the United States Senate by Ted Cruz were uniformly full of shock. Why? Because it very rarely happens that someone calls out a member of their own party so publicly. Add to that the member being called out is the Senate Majority Leader. Add to that he is being called a liar. Add to that the one calling him a liar has 53 witnesses. Add to that the 53 witnesses are all members of the same party. Add to that the one speaking is the only one who called him out on it.
He’s put everyone in rather a tough spot, hasn’t he?
Here is the full transcript of Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) floor speech of Friday, July 24, 2015 absolutely scorching the saggy corrupt hide right off Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KS).
I cannot recommend it to you highly enough.
July 24, 2015 Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), on The Floor of the United States Senate
Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, today is a sad day for this institution.
The Senate operates based on trust. Whether we are Democrats or
Republicans, these 100 Senators have to be able to trust that when a
Senator says something, he or she will do it, even if we disagree on
substance–that we don’t lie to each other.
What we just witnessed this morning is profoundly disappointing. I
want to describe the context of two preceding discussions.
A number of weeks ago, when this Senate was considering trade
promotion authority, a group of Senators gathered on this floor and
blocked TPA for many minutes because they were pressing for the Export-
Import Bank. They huddled on this floor and negotiated a deal in front
of C-SPAN and in front of the world. Then, when they had their deal,
TPA had the votes to pass.
Shortly thereafter, we had a Senate Republican lunch, where I stood
and asked the majority leader, very directly: What is the deal that was
just cut on TPA and was there a deal for the Export-Import Bank? It was
a direct question I asked the majority leader in front of all of the
Republican Senators. The majority leader was visibly angry with me that
I would ask such a question, and the majority leader looked at me and
said: There is no deal. There is no deal. There is no deal. Like Saint
Peter, he repeated it three times.
He said: The only thing I told the proponents of the Export-Import
Bank is, like any other Senator in this body, they could offer any
amendment they liked on any amendable vehicle, but I gave them nothing.
There is no deal. I gave them nothing. He was emphatic and he was
Following that public discussion, Senator Mike Lee and I approached
the majority leader afterward, in which he emphasized: There is no
deal. I will do nothing. I oppose the Export-Import Bank. All I said is
they can offer an amendment like any Senator can to any bill.
I went back to my office and I sat down and I had a long discussion
with my staff. My staff told me that afternoon: He is lying to you.
That is what my staff said. We have been around the Senate a long time.
He is not telling you the truth.
What I told my staff that afternoon, I said: Well, I don’t know if
that is the case or not, but I don’t see how, when the majority leader
looks me in the eyes and makes an explicit promise–and by the way,
looks into the eyes of every other Republican Senator and says that to
every other Republican Senator–I don’t see how I cannot take him at
his word when he makes an explicit promise.
As a result, I cast my vote in May in support of TPA because I
support free trade, and I felt I had no choice but to assume that when
the majority leader spoke to 54 Republican Senators and made an
explicit promise, he wasn’t lying to us. Well, as TPA moved on and it
went to the House, it became abundantly clear there was a deal. There
was a deal in the House for the Export-Import Bank. So the second time
TPA came up, I voted no because of that corrupt deal.
Now, I will note to the public that the majority leader and the
Speaker of the House had repeatedly said: There was no corrupt deal.
There was no corrupt deal. We made no deal. We made no deal. That is
one element of the background context.
Let me tell you a second element of the background context. A number
of weeks ago, when we were debating the Corker-Cardin bill, the Iran
review act, there were a number of amendments that Senators had filed.
I filed an amendment that would actually put teeth in the Iran review
act by requiring affirmative congressional approval before sanctions on
Iran could be lifted. Other Senators filed very good amendments.
Senator Marco Rubio filed an amendment calling for Iran to recognize
Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State before sanctions could be
lifted. Our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle did not want to
vote on that amendment, and in response, the majority leader cut off
Now, I sat in the majority leader’s office, and I urged the majority
leader: Invoke cloture on Senator Rubio’s amendment. Invoke cloture on
Senator Rubio’s amendment calling on Iran to recognize Israel’s right
to exist and setting that as a precondition of any lifting of
sanctions. I argued vociferously with the majority leader that if the
Democrats were so opposed to voting on that amendment, that was all the
more reason, because it was important substantively. The majority
leader said no, he would not do so, that invoking cloture on an
amendment was an extraordinary step, and he would not do so. So he cut
off every amendment. He filled the tree.
It was striking a minute ago seeing the Democratic leader, Senator
Harry Reid, calling out the majority leader for filling the tree, for
engaging in the same procedural abuse that Harry Reid did over and over
and over again in this body. Now the Republican leader is behaving like
the senior Senator from Nevada.
What we just saw was not, Madam President, what the majority leader
told you and me and every other Republican Senator. What we just saw
was not that the proponents of the Export-Import Bank, like anyone
else, could stand up and offer whatever amendment they like on any
issue. What the majority leader did is, No. 1, he called up that
amendment. He called it up himself. Why does that matter? Because, as
the majority leader, he has priority of recognition. When he calls up
an amendment, no one can stop him. He didn’t just call it up; he filled
the tree. Just like Harry Reid, he filled the tree, blocking everyone
else’s amendment. And, by the way, I agree with Senator Reid when he
says the ObamaCare amendment is a cynical amendment. Of course it is.
It is empty showmanship. We will have a vote on repealing ObamaCare. The Republicans will all vote yes, and the Democrats will all vote no. It will be at a 60-vote threshold. It will be an exercise in meaningless political theater.
Mind you, when we had a fight in October of 2013 to actually stop
ObamaCare and defund it, the majority leader, then the minority leader,
was opposed to doing something with real teeth in it to stop ObamaCare.
But an empty show vote–that is a good way of distracting from what is
You know, there is a profound disappointment among the American
people because we keep winning elections and then we keep getting
leaders who don’t do anything they promise. The American people were
told: If only we have a Republican majority in the House, things will
be different. Well, in 2010, the American people showed up in enormous
numbers, and we got a Republican majority in the House, and very little
changed. Then the American people were told, you know, the problem is
the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and
retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.
Well, in 2014, the American people rose up in enormous numbers and
voted to do exactly that. We have had a Republican majority in both
Houses of Congress now for about 6 months.
What has that majority done?
The first thing we did in December is we came back and passed a
trillion dollar CRomnibus plan filled with pork and corporate welfare.
That was the very first thing we did. Then this Republican majority
voted to fund ObamaCare, voted to fund President Obama’s
unconstitutional Executive amnesty. Then leadership rammed through the
confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Which of those
decisions would be one iota different if Harry Reid were still majority
leader? Not a one. Not a one. This Senate operates exactly the same–
the same priorities. Let me tell you why. It is not that this majority
doesn’t get things done. It does get things done. But it listens to one
and only one voice; that is the voice of the Washington cartel–the
lobbyists on K Street, the big money and big corporations.
If you go to the American people and ask if reauthorizing the Ex-Im
Bank is a priority for you, the standard response for most of them
would be this: The what? They don’t even know what this is. Let me tell
you what it is. It is an egregious example of corporate welfare. It is
the American taxpayer being on the dime for hundreds of billions of
dollars in loan guarantees given out to a handful of giant
corporations. It is a classic example of cronyism and corporate
welfare. By the way, among others, do you know what person had the
clarity of thought on that? Then-Senator Barack Obama, who described it
as a classic example of corporate welfare. That was when he was in the
Senate. Now that he is in the White House, corporate welfare sounds
pretty good. Now, just about all of the Democrats are supporting the
corporate welfare with the exception of Bernie Sanders. I will give
credit to Senator Sanders for standing up against corporate welfare.
But as to every Democrat who rails against big money and the corruption
of Washington, as to every Democrat who styles himself or herself a
populist, their actions on this matter speak far louder than their
words. When it comes to Republicans, Republicans also are listening to
K Street and the lobbyists. Why? It is not complicated. The giant
corporations that are getting special favors from the taxpayers hire an
army of lobbyists who write campaign checks after campaign checks. And,
by the way, these checks go to both Democrats and Republicans. It is
career politicians in both parties who are kept in office by looting
the taxpayer to benefit wealthy powerful corporations.
The single largest recipient of loan guarantees from the Ex-Im Bank
is the Boeing corporation. The Boeing corporation just had an earnings
call where their CEO said–and I am paraphrasing: We’ll be just fine
without the Ex-Im Bank. It is not impacting us. There are plenty of
private loan alternatives out there. But even though the market could
provide, it is a lot easier to have compliant lawmakers rob from the
public fist to enrich giant corporations.
Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A single mom waiting tables.
Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A teenage immigrant like my
father, washing dishes, making 50 cents an hour, struggling to achieve
the American dream. Do you know who doesn’t have lobbyists? A factory
worker who just wants to work and provide for his or her children. They
don’t have lobbyists, and so what happens? Career politicians in both
parties gang up with giant corporations to loot their taxes to make it
harder for people who are struggling to achieve the American dream.
Coal miners, Madam President, in your State don’t have lobbyists who
are representing them here–the individual miners–while the majority
leader teams up with the Democratic leader to take from their paychecks
to fund giant corporations. It is wrong and it is corrupt.
It saddens me to say this. I sat in my office. I told my staff: The
majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the
eye. I cannot believe he would tell a flatout lie, and I voted based on
those assurances that he made to each and every one of us. 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 again was a simple lie.
This institution should not operate at the beck and call of lobbyists
in Washington. This institution, the majority and minority leaders arm
in arm again, should not team up against the American taxpayers. It is
why our children are going bankrupt.
Now we are facing an enormous threat with this Iran deal. A nuclear
Iran poses the greatest national security threat to this country. Yet
the majority leader refused to do what he just did for the Export-
Import Bank on Iran. He refused to invoke cloture. That was an
extraordinary step. If he was telling us the truth when he said there
was no deal, why would he do what he just did? Well, we now know that
when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit
commitment, he is willing to say things that he knows are false. That
has consequences for how this body operates. 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.
There are a host of amendments that the American people have focused
on–issues such as defunding Planned Parenthood after the gruesome
video. The majority leader doesn’t want to vote on that. That is actually something the American people are focused on.
He brought up his ObamaCare amendment as a smokescreen, because it is
intended to fail. But you know, what he didn’t bring up was my
amendment to end the congressional exemption from ObamaCare–the
corrupt deal that Harry Reid cut with President Obama to exempt Members
of Congress. We ought to live under the same rules as everybody else.
The majority leader doesn’t want to vote on that because he doesn’t
want to end the cronyism for Members of Congress any more than end the
cronyism for giant corporations that enrich themselves at the expense
of the American people.
There are a host of priorities for the voters who elected you and me.
Madam President, I would ask you to think about when you were running
for the Senate not too long ago. Do you recall any of your constituents
ever saying: We want the Export-Import Bank. No, they want other
things. They have other priorities, but those are not the priorities of
the Republican leadership.
Sadly, today we have government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists,
and for the lobbyists. That is not how the Senate is supposed to
operate. A far more important amendment than bringing back this
corporate welfare and cronyism is my amendment that provides that
sanctions on Iran cannot be lifted unless and until Iran does two
things: No. 1, it recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State,
and No. 2, it releases the four American hostages languishing in
Iranian prisons. That is a far more important issue than enriching some
more lobbyists on K Street and getting a few more campaign
contributions. That is what we should be voting on.