Senate number two Republican will not support Cruz-Lee Obamacare defund strategy

A well-connected Senate Republican source says John Cornyn, the second-ranking GOP lawmaker in the Senate, will not go along with a plan advocated by colleagues Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to filibuster a House-passed bill that would fund the federal government but defund Obamacare.

Cruz and Lee revealed the scheme over the weekend after reports noted that Senate rules will allow Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats to strip the defunding provision from the House bill and pass a “clean” continuing resolution by a simple majority vote. Faced with that dilemma, Cruz and Lee now propose that Republicans filibuster a bill they support — indeed, one that Cruz and Lee asked the House to pass — in order to “preserve” it.

The source says Cornyn will support a bill that defunds Obamacare, but Cornyn will not go along with a plan to filibuster that same bill. “Cornyn will not vote with Cruz on this,” the source says. “It doesn’t make any sense. He [Cruz] has lost the messaging war on this. He has lost the strategy. We’re not going to go along with this.”

The source added: “Ted Cruz can go out there and explain how he’s going to block a bill that defunds Obamacare, but we’re not going to.”

Late Monday morning, Cornyn sent out a tweet that said simply, “I intend to support the House bill that defunds Obamacare and will vote against a bill that funds it.”

Cornyn’s decision begins to provide an answer to the question of how many Senate Republicans will go along with the Cruz-Lee scheme. Just 15 GOP senators — out of a total of 46 — signed a letter Lee circulated more than a month ago advocating defunding, and that was before Lee and Cruz came up with the complex proposal they are now circulating. Republican senators will discuss the issue when they hold a members-only meeting on Tuesday.


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